Growing up I was the definition of a strong-willed child. I was also the middle child. And while some middle children describe the frustrations of being ignored and often resentful of the parental attention doted upon the oldest and youngest children, I reveled in my middle child obscurity. I couldn’t have been more content flying under the radar as I happily created mischief wherever I went. Nothing to see here!

In fact, although I was younger than all the kids in my neighborhood, for some reason, they did whatever I said. I guess it was because I always had a plan, which usually had a hint of risk, trouble, or danger. I was the instigator, the leader, engaging them in daily adventures. Unfortunately for me (and them for that matter), a lot of those shenanigans resulted in all of us getting into trouble.

But what I remember most as the one thing that would bring the biggest consequences for me with my parents, even more than what I did, was when I lied about it or covered it up. It’s interesting because the hiding and covering of sin is nothing new. In fact, it’s been a ploy of the enemy since the beginning.

The Bible says in Genesis Chapter 3:1-8 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they realized they were naked; so, they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

You see, the enemy is a liar. He works hard to influence, manipulate, and plant seeds of doubt and mistrust in us towards God. His endgame goal is to cause us to hide from the presence of God, the very presence we need, when we fall short. After all, only the presence of God can sustain us, heal us, and redeem us.

We weren’t created to live in an echo-chamber of our own thoughts and perspectives. We were created for relationship. And it’s through relationship that change happens.

Proverbs 28:13-14 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.”

The enemy knows what concealing and hiding does to us on the inside and to our relationship with God. We know that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God, however, sometimes carrying the weight of guilt and shame – the hidden things, causes us to want to hide from God, and even people. The Bible says it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. It’s God’s overwhelming love for us that causes us to let him into those places – the deep places, the hidden hurts, and the struggles that the enemy wants to keep us chained to.

One of the plays we run as a church – Love Church’s Playbook – is small groups. We are passionate about small groups, because we know that healing and growth always take place through relationships. No wonder the enemy fights so hard to keep us from connecting. We all need a trusted circle to do life with. We need people in our corner who will encourage us, speak truth, and sharpen us. Let’s be real – even Jesus had his small group.

The truth is, we were not created to do life alone, and Jesus demonstrated that for us. It’s in isolation that the enemy works to undermine God’s truth. We weren’t created to live in an echo-chamber of our own thoughts and perspectives. We were created for relationship. And it’s through relationship that change happens.

The enemy would love to keep you isolated and alone, ‘hidden’. He would love to cut off the voices of Godly relationships. But God has more for us. I would encourage everyone, whether it would be your first time jumping in, or if you need to reengage again, join a small group. We truly are better together.
To find a group, go to welovechurch.com/smallgroups.

By Suzanne Odum

Suzanne Odum oversees the ministries of Love Church. Her passion is to empower people to pursue their God-given dreams. She's also a huge fan of The Godfather trilogy and can quote almost every line!

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