If we get to the heart cry of the soul, I believe we just want to be known. We want to know that our life matters, and others know us. In truth, it’s what we were made for: to know others and to be known. The Internet has made it easy for a person to create a platform and rise to the spotlight seemingly over night. There is a certain paradox to discipleship in Christ though, and that is the willingness to live in obscurity.
Frank Viola posed this question in a podcast, and it has stuck with me.
Now hang with me. I want to share my own struggle in this and then drive it home. I admit, this is something I deal with within myself as well. I run this blog for the very fact that I want my voice and work to be known so that it can help people.
I have a passion to help other Christ followers, like you, live a life that matters. I believe this comes by growing deeper in your faith and building a thriving marriage. These come as a result of grasping God’s eternal purpose and living by Christ’s indwelling life. This is how you can leave a lasting impact on your world.
Living in obscurity challenges that very thought pattern to make my voice known. I have peace that in a noisy world, my voice may never be known. Like Paul declared to the Corinthians, I too have determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2).
This is the beginning of living in obscurity.
Natural Obscurity & Spiritual Obscurity
There is a stark contrast between living in obscurity in the natural realm, and doing so in the Spiritual one. In the natural world you become obscure by fading into the shadows.
When I was a teenager we played a game called cops and robbers, but this was more an across the town style. You had a few drivers and everybody else was a robber. You had to go on foot and get from point A to point B (typically halfway or more across town) without getting caught. Any time a car came, you would hide in a shadow to try and hide yourself so they wouldn’t see you.
Now, spiritually you become obscure in the completely opposite manner. We become obscure by fading into the light. Sounds contradictory right? Fading in the light?
Think about it this way. If you hold a lit candle in a dark room, you will light up the room, but if you hold a candle up to the sun, it disappears. Social media and our noisy world stirs within us a desire not to fade into the shadows, but rather to be that candle in the dark room.
Living in obscurity is taking the candle of your life, and putting it in front of the Son. Living in obscurity is letting the light and life of Christ outshine anything and everything in your life.
Here’s how Jesus put it,
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
We let our light shine, but God receives all the glory. Now if you’re anything like me, you want to let your light shine and take a little bit of the credit. I battle my flesh on this every—single–day.
In his book Voice Of A Prophet, AW Tozer gives this challenging thought:
We serve God on commission. It is a very low commission, and the more spiritual we are the lower the commission we are willing to take for the work we do. We want to serve God, but we want a commission. “Oh God, we will give Thee 95 percent of the glory, but could we have 5 percent?” Then we get blessed at some revival meeting, and say to God, “Oh Lord, let it be 3 percent.” But God says, “I am Jehovah. That is my name, and My glory will I not give to another.
How Do We Live In Obscurity
Living in the obscurity of Christ is a matter of the spirit and is in complete contradiction to the flesh.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. – Gal 5:17
The flesh pleads for recognition and fame, while the Spirit calls for obscurity in the light of Christ. Our obscurity comes by making a daily decision to go to the cross, to lose our life, and to follow Him.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. – Matt 16:25
If we want to live in obscurity we have to be willing to take no commission, no portion of the prize or the glory, and give everything to Christ. There is no fame or popularity in the cross. It is a life of giving all the glory to Christ.
It is a life of persecution, rejection, and death. This is an enigma in itself; living in death. He has called us to lay aside every ounce of our own life, so that His life may thrive.
Are you willing to lay aside every ounce of your life for His name? Are you willing to be rejected by the world to bring honor to Him?
Are you willing to live in obscurity?