The tragedy of “secret discipleship” … “Hiding your light under a bushel”

Hiding your light under a bushel

Secret disciples – People who have come to believe that Jesus is “the real deal” – but are reluctant to take a public stand for Him – confess Him publicly – and live their lives openly as a Christ follower! It’s called “hiding your light under a bushel” (Matthew 5:15-16)

There’s a lot of em! I meet them all the time… You have an honest, heartfelt, unguarded conversation with them and it comes out – “Yup, deep down in my heart I think Jesus is real! I believe He is who He claimed to be! I try to be a good person and do what I think would please Him. But I don’t want to offend others who believe differently… I don’t want to lose my job or ruin my chances for advancement… I don’t want to force my beliefs on other people.”

Question is… What would Jesus think of that? How would the One who publicly went to the cross and died for their sin have to say about that kind of approach to “following Jesus?”

Well, I read a passage this morning in the Bible that gives us some idea, I think… Here’s what the passage has to say…

“Despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him… Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God!” (from John 12:37–43 NLT)

That’s the way it is sometimes… and it’s tragic! Especially when you consider what Jesus himself said in another place…

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (from Matthew 10:32–33 NLT, see also Luke 12:8-9)

You see, that’s one of the reasons why, in discipleship – in deciding to “follow Jesus” – water baptism is required! It’s kind of a public acknowledgement of your faith and “follower-ship” of Christ – a kind of “coming out party” for those who claim to be Christians… And it’s necessary! It’s essential!

So here’s my advice based upon what the Bible says… “Man up” (or “Woman up”)! Come out of the closet and stop being “a secret disciple of Jesus” for fear of others (or whatever other reason you give)! Jesus would be pleased! Others would be influenced to follow Him! God would be honored! Authentic discipleship would go better for you – regardless of what it would cost you personally… How did Jesus say it… “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (from Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26 NLT)

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