The author, an apprentice of Christ and of two giants in the spiritual-formation world, Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, brings alive a key text, Colossians 3:1-17.
When Smith was teaching his apprentice curriculum, he started to memorise this chunk of scripture, which he says comprises ‘a complete picture of our life in Christ’. As the words took flesh in him, they began to shape and mould his thoughts and actions, enabling him to attain a deeper level of Christ-likeness. Individual words started to take residence in his soul – words such as ‘hidden, seated, life, revealed, chosen, beloved and name’. God used them to change him from the inside out as he lived out the passage – he took off the clothes of the old self and put on the new.
I’ve long searched for books on one of Smith’s main themes: how we live in Christ and he lives in us. So I had high hopes for Hidden in Christ and I haven’t been disappointed. The author focuses on just one word from the passage in each of his 30 chapters, giving him scope to delve deeply. This approach also helps those who take up his challenge to memorise this part of scripture (I’m about halfway through), and makes the book suitable for use as a daily devotional or in a small group setting. Living the ‘with-Christ life’ means ushering in the kingdom of God in the here and now. Reading this book gives us a means of enacting one of its most memorable lines: Christ ‘did not die merely to get me into heaven, but to get heaven into me’.
AMY BOUCHER PYE – writer, speaker and editor