Summary: Is your light under a bushel?
We are in a time when nearly every day the headlines talk about someone coming out of the closet about their sexual identity or about some skeleton coming out of the closet. Things that were hidden for years are open for all to see and hear. Some of those things should have stayed hidden. People have told me things they should have kept to themselves. Lewis Grizzard has a song about day time shows where people bring things out to the world and he basically says,“Don't believe I would have told that!” I agree there are some things that just need to kept private. Naked pictures ought not to be taken, but if you do, then don't put them out on the cloud to be hacked and revealed to the world. Put them on a DVD and lock them in a safe that is bolted to the floor and would take a nuke to open if you just want to remember what you looked like at 20 when you're 90.
While some things need to be in secret until Judgment Day, there are some times when the closet needs to be emptied and exposed to full daylight. When it comes to sin, it is best to bring it to God to confess it and be cleansed. Hiding it here only fools you as He has seen everything you did and will ever do from eternity past. You cannot hide from God nor can you hide anything from Him. Trying to hide sin in your closet only makes the darkness in you that much stronger even deceiving you that it will never be found out. You may even adjust to the weight of the guilt, but it is still an unnecessary burden you can be relieved from if you just bring it out of the closet to be removed by a merciful and loving God.
Too many Christians keep their Christianity in a small closet. They heed the old admonishment to not discuss religion or politics. Really? The two major things that shape a person's life are not be discussed? Balderdash! People complained about the Baptists in the early days of this country because every time you met one they had “a Scripture to cast in your teeth.” In a way, that should be said of everyone who knows Christ as Savior. The Bible has the answer to everything so when subjects present themselves we should be able to speak into a person's or group's life the answer.
Jesus did not call us to be closet disciples. Indeed, He gives some stern warnings about denying Him. Matthew 10:33 being one of them. James says that faith without works is dead. Keeping your faith to yourself like a Japanese house shrine is not a living faith. Jesus wants to be in your home, but He also told you to go into all the world with Him. Our faith was made to be made public because we are called to evangelize the world and you cannot do that silently.
Admittedly, there have been times from the 1st century until now when it was not very advantageous to be publicly known as a Christian. Indeed, Joseph of Arimathaea was a closet believer until he came forward to claim the body of Christ. Peter denied he knew Jesus when things got sticky. The Disciples did hide until Pentecost. During the days of the Inquisitions, it was not good to be known as a Christian that was not a Roman Catholic. In Nazi Germany, it was good to be a quiet Christian and certainly one that did not hide Jews. Being a Christian in communist countries from Stalin on was very treacherous. Christians in areas dominated by Hindus or Muslims live in a day-to-day brink of death mode. In the USA, it is certainly not popular to be a real or biblical Christian that lives the faith, votes their beliefs and engages in the public forum calling people sinners and naming sins. Warning people about Hell and Jesus being the only way to salvation will not get you invited to many places. Indeed, the media will only want to speak to you to make you look foolish and mock you.
Christ did not call us to a comfortable Christianity. In all those not so convenient times God has called His people to stand up for Him and be the ambassadors and witnesses He saved them to be until He returns or calls them home. Joseph of Arimathaea did come out in public. Peter did repent and when filled with the Holy Spirit he stood before thousands of people boldly preaching the Gospel. Paul's conversion cost him his position in the religious hierarchy and his resume in 2 Corinthians 11 shows it also caused him great physical abuse. Men like Girolamo Savonarola and many others spoke out during very difficult times and were martyred. Indeed, read “Foxes Book of Martyrs” to see the list of others who “loved not their lives unto the death.” ( http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22400/22400-h/22400-h.htm ) That book has been updated to include the 21st century. ( http://www.christianbook.com/new-foxes-book-of-martyrs-softcover/john-foxe/9780882708751/pd/08759 ) Only in glory will know all of the martyrs since those days as the number increases every day.