"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel..." Romans 1:16
In the last half century, the phrase “coming out of the closet” has been adopted by the homosexual community to describe the act of making their sexual preference public knowledge. However, prior to that, the phrase was simply used to describe anything private that was being made known public. It is likely based on the similar expression, “skeletons in the closet”, which refers to secrets that you don’t want anyone else to know. We all have secrets to some degree! Likely, we all would prefer some things never become public knowledge. However, some things are too important to keep secret! Somethings lose much of their purpose in your life if they are not brought out into the open. If you are a believer, your relationship with Christ is not something that can be kept in the closet!!
In the first 12 verse of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus begins describing what life in the Kingdom of God looks like. He declares that happiness in the Kingdom of God comes much differently than it does in the world. The Spirit of God both empowers and blesses those who model Kingdom life. And though some of those virtues address our relationship with God, the rest of them apply to our relationships with others. Being meek, merciful, and peacemakers are not virtues that have purpose outside of relationships. Furthermore, the expectation is given that if you live out these virtues, not everyone will love you for them: “Blessed are those who are persecuted…when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you…”. Jesus declares that those who suffer persecution will be recipients of the kingdom of God and reward in heaven. However, the fear of persecution has driven many people to compartmentalize their Christian witness to home, church, and their own hearts. But Jesus is not a skeleton to keep in our closets!!
If the beatitudes teach us anything, they reveal the fact that we are supposed to stand out from the world. There is supposed to be something different about us. We value different things. We enjoy different things. We base our truth on the scripture. Our priorities are shaped by the fact that Jesus has done so much for us. We are supposed to look different! We must fight the temptation to choose the path of least resistance within our culture, and blend in so as not to draw attention. We are supposed to draw attention! We should not stand out because we are mean, or rude, or unwise, or aloof. But with the unapologetic agenda of seeing the Kingdom of God established, we should put Jesus and all He has done for us on display for the world to see!!
I pray that we all fight the temptation to keep our Christianity in the closet! The world needs to hear the Goods News, and they need to see its effect on us! That only happens when we are open, honest, and outgoing about all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ!!