Playing Hide and Seek with God

Do you remember the good old days when you were a kid and you didn’t have a care in the world? Time seemed to go by so slow and the worst thing that you had to worry about was what you wanted to wear to school or what you wanted to do that day with friends. Some of us had more challenging childhoods, but the one thing that we had in common was playing games. Children love to play games like baseball, hopscotch, jump rope, basketball and so many others that come to mind. One of my favorites games was hide and seek. I loved the feeling of having to rush to find a hiding spot and then, once you found that perfect spot, making sure that you had the composure to keep as quiet as possible! And the beautiful thing about hide and seek was that you didn’t need anything to play. You only needed a group of friends and a good hiding spot. As adults we have so many responsibilities. From taking care of our families to work, things can get so busy. At times, we can even become so busy that we lose our delight in God.

When we aren’t delighting in God we tend to focus on ourselves and then turn to things instead of God. This often results in hiding from God when we have sinned and even going to the extent of blaming God when things don’t go the way we want. For those of us who are parents, how many times have we seen our kids try to hide things or blame their siblings when they did something wrong? I have been there and done that, and I have seen it with my kids. This is not a new problem. Since the fall of man in the garden, we have been trying to hide our sin and shame from God. We continue to have that same impulse today! When we sin we have two choices. We can come to an ever forgiving and loving God who knows us more than we know ourselves. We can rest in His forgiveness as we confess and repent of our sin. Or, we can hide in sin and run from God. Just think how many times we have played hide and seek with God in this way. All the while, He knows where we are spiritually and He knows our hearts. As Christ followers, we are called to put aside childish things. Just as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” When we hide our sin and shame from God we aren’t believing the gospel. We are believing a lie from the enemy that we are not fully loved and forgiven by the completed work of Jesus. God is calling us to repentance and faith, and He is calling us to repeat that process over and over again. We can do this because we know that Christ is our loving redeemer who never loses patience with us. And if you have been following Christ long enough you know that He is better than anything else. Christ trumps all things! He has laid down His life for us so that we could be reconciled to God. All Jesus wants is our heart. When we stop hiding from God, it allows our heart to be free from the shackles of sin and our affections to return to their rightful place — on the Savior who deserves all of our worship!

In the same way we hide our sin from God, we also try to hide our sin from each other. We attempt to wear a mask and pretend that everything is ok but really, on the inside, we are dying due to the sin that is festering there. As the body of Christ we are meant to encourage, pray for and live life close to one another for this reason. Christ was the very epitome of encouragement and how to love others in spite of their sin. We should be around other believers and living life with them so that we can confess sin, enjoy victories, and hurt with others when they hurt because we are the family of God. If someone in your family is struggling you wouldn’t turn a blind eye. No, you would comfort, pray with and love them through their struggles. In James 5:16 it says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, that you may be healed.The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” And then, verse 19-20 says, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” This is why it is so important as followers of Jesus that we live life together. We could never follow the life that Christ has called us to alone. The picture that keeps coming to my mind is one that Jeff has used a couple
 times before. Satan is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. When we present ourselves like a baby gazelle who has been separated from the herd, we will fall prey to his attack. But, if we exist within the herd, there is protection from the enemy. This sort of picture is what we are called to as a family of believers in Christ. Again, Christ modeled this for us with His followers as they lived through the messiness of life together.

As I think about the ways that God has changed my heart, this is one of the primary areas. I was one of the people who thought that I could go to church on Sunday, have that “God” moment, and then try to live my life on my own the rest of the week. But this never worked. Why? First, I am a sinful man and no one was living life with me to encourage me or to see how I was doing in my struggles. Then my mind would begin believing lies like I’m not forgiven because I have done too much. Then I would give in to that sin more and more until a sovereign, loving God said that this isn’t the life that I want for you. Christ’s pursuit of my soul is the only reason that I am here writing this blog. He loved me enough to show me that life with Him and dependency upon Him is the only way to have true peace and rest. I pray that, as you are reading this, you would choose to not hide and bring your sin to light and run back to the Father’s loving arms!

With the love of Christ

Matt Langenhorst