Hiding Your Lights

When You Feel Like Hiding Your Light

I hadn’t planned to write about hiding your light this week, but I’ve been wrestling with God over every word since the calendar flipped to January, and that’s not the norm. I logged a lot of hours hunched over my keyboard tapping out two very different posts from what you’re reading today. But I simply couldn’t still my soul with either. I don’t know if the words will work themselves out or not, so I wanted to share the gist of them with you, just in case they never see the light of day:

  1. Regular repentance restores our shine.
  2. God uses hard times to refine our shine.

When I sat down to study the context of my verse for the year, something I noticed had me scratching my head. You may know Matthew 5:16 falls within the larger portion of Scripture referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus spoke about the way His followers should live. The two verses prior say:

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand,

and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Matthew 5:14-15

Hiding Your Light

Why on earth would any one ever want to hide the light Jesus gives us?

Then, I remembered my days in the Army. When we went to the field to train, we had to practice strict light discipline during hours of darkness. One unshielded flashlight could broadcast our position to the enemy like a homing beacon. One carelessly uncovered window could endanger the entire camp.

Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were afraid of the enemy, it was just training, after all. But if hiding our light could help us avoid an attack it seemed like pretty sound strategy.

And I think that same mentality worms its way into our minds when we consider shining our light into the world. Perhaps it isn’t even a conscious decision. Just a subtle inkling…Hiding Your Light

     If I don’t shine here I won’t have to defend my beliefs.

     If I don’t speak up no one will attack my position.

     If I don’t act, no one will judge my actions.

     If I don’t stand up, no one can knock me down.

     If I don’t use my gifts, no one will accuse me of being prideful.

     If they don’t see me, maybe they won’t look into my past.

Fear and shame make us feel like hiding our light.

But God is not ashamed of His people.

God is Not Ashamed

He made that abundantly clear from the very beginning. When Adam and Eve attempted to hide from Him in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit they feared Him and were ashamed at their nakedness. While there was a consequence for their sin, one that we still feel today, God didn’t abandon them. Instead, He clothed them with a finer garment than they could make for themselves. He replaced their shoddy leaves with the skin of an animal sacrificed for their covering, so they could step out from the shadows.

Fear and shame make us feel like hiding our light, but God is not ashamed of His people. #shine #donthideyourlight Click To Tweet

Hiding Your Light

Then, He did the same for all of us. He sacrificed His Son so our sins would be covered and we could stand unashamed, clothed in His righteousness.

Whom do you fear?

My past isn’t perfect, by any means. Heck, my present isn’t even all that pretty sometimes (#mess). While Christians are called to be holy because God is holy, that isn’t a mark we’ll meet this side of heaven. So, maybe if Christians quit pretending to be perfect, more people would have the courage to shine in the dark. Maybe if we shined a light on the truth that we are simply sinners saved by God’s grace more people would be encouraged to step into the light with us.  Who knows, our light might just be a beacon of hope for someone surrounded by darkness to begin growing toward.

If we believe Jesus’s sacrifice qualifies us to stand before God unashamed, we ought to be able to shine before men without fear. Maybe you haven’t named that feeling that has you hiding your light as fear. Perhaps you call it self-preservation, not rocking the boat, humility, insecurity, or responsibility. But it comes down to fear in some form or another. Whom do you fear, man or God?

If we believe Jesus’s sacrifice qualifies us to stand before God unashamed, we ought to be able to shine before men without fear. #shine #matthew5:16 Click To Tweet

Where is Your Focus?

While we do live in a world that is becoming more hostile toward Christians, Christ already defeated our enemy. But the devil is looking to take down as many people as he can on his way to the pits of Sheol. And guess what? He already knows where we are. So, only he benefits when we hide our light. But those who haven’t seen the light, are the ones who have the most to lose. Much like most plants, faith doesn’t grow in the dark. Only fear and shame flourish there. Seeds need a source of light to grow toward, without it they remain dormant.

Dormant seeds of faith don’t glorify God. And that is the purpose of our shining…. that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

When you feel like hiding your light, where is your focus? On man? On Satan? On yourself? We always focus on what we fear. We cannot shine if we aren’t focused on God. But when we focus on Him, His love, His grace, His power, His light, His truth, His victory, we cannot help but shine!

Maybe if we focused more on shining because of Jesus instead of shining for Him, we’d feel less like hiding our light.

When do you feel most like hiding your light? What does that say about where you’re placing your faith? How might Psalm 27:1 and John 1:5 encourage you to stop hiding your light and shine bright?

When we focus more on shining because of Jesus instead of shining for Him, we feel less like hiding our light. #shine #donthideyourlight Click To Tweet

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Linking Up With

For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerFaith On FireSusan B. MeadFaith Filled FridayGrace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridaySoul SurvivalRah Rah Link UpTell His StorySitting Among FriendsTestimony TuesdayPlanting Roots, and Fresh Market FridaySalt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday.

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Hiding Your Lights

26 thoughts on “When You Feel Like Hiding Your Light

  1. I love the differentiation you make between shining for Jesus and shining because of him! I think it’s easy to hold back from shining our light because we feel we’re not good enough, instead of realising that it’s about Jesus’ light shining through us, and that his grace can be seen more clearly in our imperfection.

    1. Yes! If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior! The more we pretend to be perfect, the less attainable salvation appears to those who know they aren’t perfect or are trying to be. Blessings!

  2. Such great thoughts, Liz!

    And this? “maybe if Christians quit pretending to be perfect, more people would have the courage to shine in the dark. ” Yes, that whole perfectionism “I’ve-got-it-all-together” image does little to nothing to draw people to the Lord. It’s when we are real, messy, and honest that others are drawn to Him. They receive hope that they too can know redemption and forgiveness.

  3. What a beautiful reminder! I love your point that Jesus has already defeated Satan. We need that reminder when we’re feeling scared or ashamed or even unworthy. But we belong to Jesus, the author and defender of our faith!

    1. Thanks, Carrie! I find myself afraid and ashamed often, so I have to keep turning back to Jesus and what He has already completed for me! Blessings!

  4. I love this post! Your list of reasons why we might not shine our lights really hit home. He has given us a light to shine. He takes care of the results. All the more reason not to be afraid! And I totally love your last comment about shining because of Him, instead of for Him. “For Him” results in striving. “Because of Him” is a response to His beautiful grace! Thanks!

  5. Your question at the end is thought-provoking. I would say I feel most like hiding my light when I have messed up in some way. I feel ashamed, and like “what kind of a witness would I be if they know what I believe after what I just did?” I am learning little by little that it is more about how I respond when you make a mistake. My faith is not supposed to be in myself after all! He was perfect for me! Thank you for the reminder!

    1. Yes… Absolutely. Christians aren’t perfect, but there are enough of us who try to look that way that it’s no wonder unbelievers think that’s what it means to be one. We’re just forgiven…over and over and over again. When we share that message of repentance with the world, we can’t mess up our witness. Blessings!

  6. Liz, I don’t know if you are already doing so, but if this were a book I would buy it. I immediately was drawn in because it’s something I’ve personally struggled with over the years. I am writing my first nonfiction on my struggle and how God has helped, but this came at it from a new angle I hadn’t thought of and just really spoke to me.

    I really loved, “He already knows where we are. So, only he benefits when we hide our light. But those who haven’t seen the light, are the ones who have the most to lose.”

    I think I most want to hide my light if I think it’s going to push someone away who )in my own opinion) is not ready to hear the truth (of the Gospel), and I get nervous rather than loving from a place of (not nervousness lol)

    But as I type that, I can see there is a hang up in my life then because I can’t correctly judge when someone is ready or not. Only God can. Wow. If you have any input to this can you email me so I don’t miss it?

    meg@thebloggingwriter.com

    Thanks so much and have a great day!

    1. Meghan! Thanks for sharing! It is tough and you’re so right that only God knows when somebody is ready, but that should never stop us from loving others. That and loving God is all we need to do to shine. Sometimes I think we feel like we have to share the gospel in a full length sermon to by shiny. But that kind of light does scare lots of people off. And it isn’t really the example Jesus set for us either. So funny that you made this comment because God had me re-writing next week’s post along these lines from what I originally was going to share! I can’t wait to hear more about your book! Blessings!

  7. Friend, I love that you set aside the two versions of this that you weren’t feeling right now, and wrote what was on your heart. I can sense the passion in it, and it’s such a good word. Thank you for sharing. “When we focus on Him…we cannot help but shine!” Amen. Love that. xoxo

    1. God’s been challenging me during this series, for sure. I’ve written so. many. words. And only publishing about half of them here. Maybe Meghan will get her wish and I’ll compile them all in a book. Thanks for always being so encouraging, friend! XO

  8. This is so very timely and such encouragement to me. God has recently put these same verses on my mind. I was led to confess and repent of something to an unbelieving friend, but as we sat down at the table I couldn’t get the words out. Shame covered me like a tonne of bricks. Why? Because her husband happened to be home also. Well, as I dug into God’s Word and devotionals afterward God impressed something on my heart- where we bring something into the light the power of darkness diminishes and when we ask the Body to pray for us it diminishes. So, I plucked up the courage to confess my sin to a Christian friend asking her to pray that I would be strengthened and emboldened to obey. And WOW I cannot tell you how much this helped. The heavy cloak of shame lifted and I was filled with a deep compassion for our friend and felt pained for the hurt I had done her. That took over from the shame. And I did it – took flowers there as an apology and even though her husband was there I told him and asked him to pass it on. Then when she dropped by today I saw how touched she was by my actions- because in her eyes it was such a “small” thing. But it wasn’t to God. He loved on her in this way and it was a privilege to see it unfold. Thank You, Jesus.

    All this to say – yes, shining God’s light is powerful. But we mustn’t forget we can call on our brothers and sisters for support as we seek to live lives holy and pleasing unto the Lord.

    1. YES! So powerful! Shame is never from the Father. Conviction, yes, but with that comes repentance and forgiveness. We feel ashamed when we forget we’re forgiven. So thrilled to hear your story of overcoming this and how it touched your friend! Blessings as you shine on!

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