Each year we prayerfully choose a passage of scripture to be our spiritual focus for the year. We introduce it to our students at planned events early in the year and we continue to develop it through our classes and chapels. We also design a t-shirt that expresses the main idea of the theme so it may be kept before them throughout the year.
This year’s theme is based off of Colossians 3:3-4. But to understand the implications and meaning of this passage we really need to look at it in its context. In Chapter 2, Paul warns of a very real problem that we all face, that of being taken captive by the philosophies and empty ideas that are part of worldly thinking.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the worlds and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8
Such philosophies include Post-Modernism, the insistence that truth is relative, that what is true for one person may not be true for another. An insistence on basic human rights is an example of human traditions that are held on to because, “we have always done it this way.” Who hasn’t heard, “It’s my life, I can do with it as I please,” as the reason to justify everything from drugs, suicide, abortion, and gender and sexual preference? Happiness is the ultimate goal that most seek and it exemplifies one of the basic world principles that is prevalent everywhere we turn. These and other similar worldly ways of thinking are promoted almost continually to us through every medium that is out there; music, TV, movies, books, and social media. The idea that sums up all of these is, “It is all about me.” Life is about what I like, what I believe, what I want, what makes me happy.
Paul knows the danger of falling into such a pit and warns believers not to fall prey to it. Captivity is not only possible but very common among believers and non-believers. The reason it is a trap is that none of these philosophies actually work in reality. Truth cannot be subjective to individuals because the same thing cannot be both true and false at the same time. To suggest otherwise is not only illogical, but foolishness. The sky cannot both be blue for one person and green for another unless we change the basic definition of color. And if we do that, how can we function in community, both communicating and understanding one another when it comes to color? If we operate off of our basic human rights, we will frequently trample on the basic human rights of another. If a mother is able to choose abortion because it is her basic human right, then what about the right of the unborn? If everyone has basic rights, then the right of the mother should not and must not supersede the right of the child. And if happiness is the ultimate goal for everything and everyone, there will be times when what makes me happy will make others very sad. It would make me very happy to take your car, but it would leave you sad at the very least. Our views of what brings happiness will collide with one another and anything but happiness will ensue.
So if it’s not “all about me,” then who or what is it all about?
For the true believer in Christ, Paul made it clear:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. Col. 3:1-2
Instead of being earthly-focused, we need to be heavenly-hearted and minded. Clearly our emotions and our thoughts are to be focused more on the heavenly realm than the earthly. What is it that our hearts are set on? Our education, career, prestige, marriage, family, acceptance, position, power, possessions, or wealth? These are things that ultimately keep our hearts focused on ourselves and the things of this world. What is our mind set on? Pleasure, fun, other people, personal happiness, problems, injustices, fears, mistreatment, enemies, or retaliation? All of these keep us from focusing our mind on Christ who sits at the right hand of God.
Which brings us to our theme verse:
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Col. 3:3-4
For the believer in Christ, Paul pronounces his or her death. This is not a physical death or spiritual death, but a death shared with Christ that separates us from the world and its desires. How much does a dead person care about the world and its pleasures? Does the dead worry about mortgages and debt, and making plans for the weekend? No, of course not, they are dead! So it is with the believer. Setting your heart and minds on things above should not be that difficult because we too are dead.
Paul goes on to remind us of the great mystery that we are “hidden with Christ in God.” When we think about being hidden, there are several ideas that may come to mind. Are we hiding because we are in fear? Are we hidden in Christ so that we may find safety? While these are reasons people hide, it is not the primary idea that Paul is conveying. Instead, he wants us to see that our hiding in Christ is a change of identity. When we are hidden in Christ, it is Christ who is seen and not us.
From time to time, I play hide-and-seek with my grandkids. When we do, they often ask if they can hide with me. They do this for a number of reasons. They think my hiding place will be a good one and if I am hard to find, then they too, will be hard to find. They also like to be with me and want to be like me, and hiding with me is being like “papa.” There is also the tactic of a double layer of hiding as well, for if they hide with me and behind me, I will be visible but they will not. It is almost as if they cannot be seen because of me. It is these ideas of hiding that Paul is referring to. If we are in Christ, we want Christ to be visible and not us. We desire to be with him and like him. His identity becomes our identity. Thus the verse continues:
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Col. 3:4
Instead of life being all about us, it is all about Him.
With this new identity, everything is different. As Paul continues in Colossians, he elaborates on the things that are put to death in the believer (Col. 3:5-11). He also elaborates on the things that believers are to endeavor to put on (Col. 3:12-17). These are the ideas that we will continue to study as we focus on the theme throughout the rest of the year in our classrooms and in chapel.
We want the theme idea to be visible and on the hearts of our students and their families as we journey through this year. One way we are encouraging this is by asking students, staff, and parents to periodically reflect on what it means to be hidden in Christ and share something about it in writing through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Whenever this is done, we ask that #hiddenwithchristfcs be used to identify it. This will allow anyone who wants to see what the discussion is to pull up the various things written by searching the hashtag. The more written and shared, the more we encourage one another in this pursuit.
We have also produced a Faith Christian School exclusive T-shirt based on the themes. All the students have been given one and they may wear them to school as a uniform shirt on days other than chapel days. Every time students wear their shirt, they are reminded of our theme that we are hidden with Christ. Every time they see another student with the shirt, they are encouraged to set their hearts and minds on things above. We have some extras available for families to purchase and wear as well. Please let the office know if you are interested in one.
Please join us this year by diving deeply into the Word of God that we may together discover all that it means to be “hidden with Christ in God.” #hiddenwithchristfcs