“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
— Matthew 13:44
Hiddenness is the very nature of the kingdom of heaven.
Isn’t it fascinating that the treasure is first hidden, then found, and then hid again?
Although the person sells all that he has in order to buy the field, we read nowhere that the man returned to the field, uncovered the treasure, and spent it on himself or used it in such a way as to draw attention to himself.
It remained hidden. It wasn’t exploited.
Hiddenness speaks of humility — a willingness to become nothing so that God might become everything.
One could even argue that the treasure itself is humility.
In order to possess and reap the benefits of this treasure, you have to sell all that you have.
The greatest thing we could ever give up… the greatest price we could ever pay is the price of denying ourselves.
Denying self isn’t merely limited to giving up your right to rule your life apart from God or laying down your will in order to adopt His; rather, it also includes giving up the need to be seen, credited, chosen, accepted, and esteemed by others.
In other words, denying self also details divorcing the fear of man.
In my personal pursuit of humility and purity, I’ve been confronted with just how much the fear of man still plays a role in my own life.
In my sincere desire to become nothing, I’ve come face to face with an unconscious desire to be something.
I’ve taken note of how I can still wonder what people are thinking of me and whether or not they appreciate me.
Although the fear of man doesn’t play as strong of a role in my life as it once did, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still present.
In fact, this is exactly what I believe God is doing right now within the individual lives of His children.
He is waging war on all matters of pride and the fear of man is one of the many faces it wears.
In particular, God appears to be revealing all matters of unconscious pride — things we thought we had already overcome, but may have been too afraid to admit that they still secretly lurk around in our hearts.
It’s not that I am practicing sin, per se, it’s that I’m still placing my trust in the wrong things at times.
The fear of man deals with where you place your trust.
Whenever we make the approval of man a source of strength, we are ensnared by the fear of man.
This is exactly what the Pharisees did.
The Pharisees had a need to honored and seen by people.
It appeared that they feared God with all of their outward, religious devotion, but inwardly they wanted to receive glory from man.
As a result, their hearts departed from God.
They did very spiritual things that were laced with the desire to be seen (see Matthew 6:2, 5, and 16).
We may not necessarily be blowing a trumpet on the street corner before we give to the poor in an effort to draw a crowd, but we may unknowingly desire to be regarded by others.
We may deep down wish we were preferred.
We may still wonder what others think about us.
We may become jealous when we feel overlooked.
We may engage in spiritual activity or post spiritual things that contain an underlying mixture that says, “I hope they like me more as a result of this,” or “Surely this will cause them to think I’m special or important.”
We may lay aside our personal heart convictions and engage in conversations or activities we know are wrong in an effort to avoid rejection.
We may become a pseudo version of ourselves in order to be accepted.
I’ve done all of those things and more.
I’ve been more concerned, at times, with what man thinks or can do in a moment then with what God thinks or can do for all of eternity.
It’s the fear of man rooted in pride.
It’s the very leaven that God is wanting to rid the church of.
And I believe we are going to see the people of God begin to cherish the hidden things, not the manifest things.
I believe we are going to see people turning away from the public things they seek to enjoy from others and longing for the hidden things they experience with God.
I believe we will stop exploiting private intimacies for public adoration.
And I believe we are going to see an exchange of the fear of man for the fear of God.
If the fear of man still plays a role in your life, the first step is to acknowledge its presence and confess it before God and others.
The reason why it’s important to confess it before others is because the fear of man is consumed with the care and worry of what others think. Confessing it before others forces you to face the fear. If you can confess its existence, it reveals that you are divorcing yourself from such concern.
The next step is to conclude that you can’t uproot its presence on your own; rather, you must humble yourself before the Lord.
Finally, you must receive the grace that accompanies humility. God gives grace to the humble.
It’s the very grace that liberates, sets free, and empowers us.
Faith activates grace.
Whenever you say, “I can’t,” you are also declaring, “He can.”
It’s your faith in His strength to do what you can’t in your own that releases His divine ability into your life.
Let us avoid no longer what we may have been too afraid to admit in an effort to preserve our reputation and save face.
Let us make the humility of Jesus the ambition of our lives.
Let us pursue a life that is completely hidden in Him.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries