Secret Discipleship?

William Barclay quotes an unattributed writer:

“There can be no such thing as secret discipleship, for either the secrecy destroys the discipleship, or the discipleship destroys the secrecy.”

The idea of keeping our commitment to Christ a secret is so far removed from our calling that it seems rather silly to even say it. But have you ever been in a situation where you did not admit to being a Christian? Have you ever, like Peter, been warming your hands at the wrong fire?

In some places in our world a “yes” to Christ means a death sentence. Would you want to keep your commitment a secret in that setting?

Jesus says that a city on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). Could it be true that many expend more energy imitating the chameleon than imitating Christ? Have we blended in so successfully that when we call people to follow Christ we are not asking very much of them?

If we want to brighten up our lamps, we won’t be able to do it by keeping them hidden away. We will do it by loving the people around us. It would be such an odd thing that they would know something was wrong with us. We’re not quite tuned up like the rest of the world.

Our secrecy would be destroyed by our discipleship.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you. Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:34-38)

It looks to me that Peter ignored the talk of love and instead boasted about his willingness to die. But when it came to the moment of truth, his secrecy destroyed his discipleship. Perhaps if he had paid more attention to the message of love he would have been stronger in his hour of need.

Me too.

Thanks for reading,

John