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How to See the Hidden Things, part 2

07 Feb
Out of Focus Blue Wall

(Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass)

In the last post, we asked why God would hide things from us.  In the process of looking at Jesus’ prayer, we realize that God doesn’t hide things from everyone… just some.

“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Matt 11:25 NLT)

So the question is… how do we go about seeing the things of heaven again?

Think Themselves

Here’s a telling phrase: things of the Kingdom of God are hidden from those who think themselves wise and clever.

It’s important to note what Jesus is not saying here: Jesus is not against intelligence or being smart.  In fact, the issue of blindness has nothing to do with being smart.  It has everything to do with those who “think themselves” wise and clever.

When we boil it down, this is an issue of pride.  Pride can result in arrogance and self-focus.  Pride can result in the illusion of self-sufficiency… why would we need to see the Kingdom when we think we don’t need God at all?

And Pride doesn’t end well.

“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Prov 16:18 NLT)

Pride causes our vision to narrow… to focus on self… and thus lose sight of God.

But our story doesn’t have to end that way.

Like a Child

The good news is, the things of God and God’s Kingdom are revealed to some:

“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Matt 11:25 NLT)

Why would Jesus use this analogy?  What does it mean to be childlike?

Being childlike has less to do with intelligence and more to do with being humble.

As a child, we had no problem acknowledging that there was more out there than we could fathom.  Do you remember when you thought adults knew everything?  (Clearly, this would be before our teenage years!).  We were more likely to take things on faith… especially if they came from a trusted source.

The prideful have a hard time admitting there are things out there they don’t know.  But when it comes to the things of God, there are clearly things beyond human understanding:

““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Is 55:8–9 NLT)

The question is not, “Are there things out there that we cannot understand?”  The real question is, “Can we be OK with admitting there are things out there we cannot understand?”

In other words… can we be humble?

The Way Ahead

If we would see the “hidden things” of God, we must be willing to set aside pride and self-reliance.  We’ll have to be humble… like a child.

But we don’t have to “check our brains at the door” as one famous apologist quipped. We can:

  • Be as smart as we can be… but be humble
  • Be curious and inquisitive… but be humble
  • Be wise… but be humble

I’m sensing a theme: humility seems to be a central piece of seeing the hidden things.

I (humbly) think Jesus agrees:

““I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt 18:3–4 NLT)

But Wait…

I can hear one last objection: “Won’t this make me look naive and simple?”

And I would respond in two ways:

  1. I will take naive and simple all the way to the Kingdom of Heaven any day over the alternative of prideful destruction.  And…
  2. I never worry about how I look to those who “think themselves clever.”  Why would I worry about how I look to those who cannot see?

What would you say to those who want to see God at work?  Where do you agree or disagree?

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Group Discussion

 

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