April 6th 2009

Secret Believers?

“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, ‘You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!’
Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
John 12:19, 42-43 (NKJ)

There can be all kinds of reasons and pressures that explain why we are sometimes secret believers.

Among them are fear of persecution or victimization and worries about social status.  What will my friends think if I tell them I follow Jesus Christ?  What about my colleagues at work?  Will they laugh at me?  Will it mean that I am overlooked for promotion?  Will my parents cut me off from their will?  Will it cause a breakdown in my marriage?  Maybe, just maybe, it is better to be a silent Christian, not to rock the boat, just to believe quietly, and to hide my faith from view?  After all, we are told not to offend, are we not?  Perhaps to be bold about what we believe may be offensive?  Of course, in some places Christians have to be careful so that violence is not brought on them or their families, but for most of us that is not the case.

The context of the above account is just a few days before the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.  The rulers were afraid of being ostracized by the status quo if they confessed to belief in Jesus.  It was more important for them to be appreciated by society than to be commended by God.

This week, when many Christians remember the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, the spotlight may turn on our Christianity.  Will we hide from its light, afraid that others may think us extreme, backward, odd, or dysfunctional?  Are we embarrassed to admit that we believe in Christ who died and rose for us and for the whole world?

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God”. (1 John 4:15).

Almighty God, help me to confess that Christ is Lord, and not to be afraid of what others might think or say about that.

Study by James Henderson

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