One of the most dangerous temptations all Christians are hit with as we live in a world who rejects God is to hide our true beliefs and identities in Christ. As Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV) states, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”
Therefore, here are 4 ways to stop hiding your true self in Christ from people in your life.
1. To Stop Hiding Your True Identity from the People Around You, You Must First Truly Know Who You Are According to Scripture
When you have personal doubts about your identity in Christ, this will manifest as soon as you are pressured to compromise by the people around you. To stay true to who you actually are as a Christian even when you are pressured to do otherwise by the social environments around you, you must personally be totally convinced about your true identity. As Ephesians 4:22-25 (NIV) explains:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
Notice that “Therefore” is placed before the imperative to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor.” This means the reason we must speak truthfully to people is found in the verses just before this command. In those verses we are told to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
This means that we will only be able to resist the temptation to hide our true selves from people when we truly know who we are in Christ. The more firmly you are rooted in Christ and believe in the truth of your transformation through the gospel, the more ability you will have to live authentically before the watching world regardless of the social consequences.
2. If You Want to Stop Hiding Your True Self from People, You Have to First Count the Cost
There was a time in Jesus’ earthly ministry where it was popular to follow him. Jesus was the hottest new thing and people came out in huge crowds to see what he was all about. It was here where Jesus gave us one of the clearest warnings about what it will cost to be a follower of Christ. In Luke 14:25-33 it reads:
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him . . . So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’”
Again, it is important to note that Jesus said this when “great crowds accompanied him.” It is as if Jesus was warning all the people there that this moment of his popularity was not going to be the normal set of affairs for Christians. Right then everyone was following Jesus because it was the cool thing to do, but that was only because people didn’t really know what it meant to follow Jesus yet. Jesus was warning them that soon it will not be socially popular to follow him, and it is at that time you will be forced to choose God over people in your life, even the closest people to you such as “father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters.” Not only must we choose Christ over people, we must even choose Christ over ourselves.
But how can we do this? Jesus says that to truly show the world who you are you must first count the cost. You have to fully decide what you are going to do before the decision needs to be made. If you wait to decide what you will do when you are forced to choose Christ or your social status, you will most likely fall to the temptation. But if you determine in your heart that you will follow Christ no matter what before you even need to make the choice, you will be successful.
So if you want to stop hiding who you truly are as woman or man of God, you must count the cost.
3. If You Want to Stop Hiding Your True Self, You Must Actively Follow God as You Interact with Other People
When I was writing this content, I was going to make point 3 say, “Focus on God and not on people,” but the more I thought about it I realized that would not be right. The Bible does not say to ignore people. We are called to love people and interact with the world so we can be a light for Christ as Matthew 5:13-16 explains. But we are also called not to worship people and not to care more about people’s perceptions of us compared to God’s view of us as Galatians 1:10 explains.
So the real key is not to focus on God as you ignore people. The real key is to focus on God as you seek to love people in your everyday life. We can’t separate our walk with God from the normal parts of our everyday life. God wants us to include him and put him first in all that we do.
When we are truly focused on God and following him as we interact with others, this will empower us not to hide our true selves from the world. As
4. Do Life with Other People Who Encourage You to Be Your True Self in Christ
If we try to live the Christian life alone, we will fail. God did not design Christianity to be a solo affair. Your walk with God must always be personal but it can never be private. We are a part of the body of Christ, the church.
When you go out into the world and you feel like you are the only person who actually believes in Jesus, it will be much harder to show people your true self in Christ. But when you know that you are not alone and there are millions of other Christians in the world who have been transformed just like you, it will give you confidence to live for Christ. Notice what 1 Peter 5:8-9 states:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
When we know that we are not alone, that we are a part of God’s family, this will empower us to live for Christ even when the world is pressuring us to hide our true selves. As Christians, we need God most of all, but he has also designed us to need one another.