Why Would Anybody Try to Hide Their Light?

by Andy Wood on April 22, 2015

in Five LV Laws, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, Pleasers, Principle of Legacy

Portrait of Invisible man in the hood isolated on black

Then there was that time I burned a hole in the back of my bathrobe.

Fortunately, I wasn’t wearing it at the time.

For reasons I can’t remember, but that made perfectly good sense back then, I was up in the middle of the night and trying to read.  For some reason the light wasn’t quite right, so I threw my robe over the lampshade.

A few minutes later I was interrupted by the unmistakable fragrance of stupid.

That will definitely go into my Hanukkah Hams Hall of Fame.  (If you don’t know what a Hanukkah Ham is, click here and start browsing.)

But you know what’s even crazier than trying to cover up your lamp with a bathrobe?  Trying to hide your identity as a believer in Christ.  Jesus Himself pointed this out:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).

Jesus said to ordinary disciples that they were a city on a hill.  We can’t be hidden, even when we may want to be. It’s futile – and offensive – to try to hide the light He has placed in us.  That’s true when you’re in the church house, and just as true when you’re in a crowded airport surrounded with strangers.

Here’s a new definition of insanity – spending one day a week trying to pretend you’re something you’re not, and six other days trying to hide what you are.

Who in the world would do something that ridiculous?  Believe it or not, there’s an answer to that question.


Know who tries to cover up his godly influence?  A believer trying to shine his own light.

You’ve got plans!  You have dreams!  You want to be somebody in the world’s eyes.  And you’re competing with God!

That’s about as intelligent as walking into a TV studio or onto a stage that’s flooded with stage lights and holding up one of those butane lighters for impact.  Good luck with that.

What’s sadder is the sincere believer who still thinks it’s his job to actually produce the light of God’s influence.  If that’s you and you’re exhausted and discouraged from trying so hard to help God out, I have good news for you.  So much of the Christian life and Christian influence involves a kind of release.  You don’t have to make God look good, or manufacture converts.  Stop competing with God for power.  Just let God be God, and let His work speak for itself through you.

Stop TRYING to be the light.  Trust God to place you in the situations where He wants you to shine and let Him do the rest.


There is a second type of believer who’s trying to hide his light, whether he recognizes it or not.  It’s one who is isolated or in conflict with other believers.  If that describes you, you’re also conflicting with God!

I must point out here that modern English translations of the Bible were translated by professors and scholars of British or uncultured northern American persuasion. So it’s understandable that they may miss this…

When Jesus said, “You are the light of the world,” the proper translation is, “Y’all are the light of the world.”  You can’t understand the impact of this verse unless you see it in the context of community.  Everything Jesus said about influence happens when the people of God connect and care for each other.  That’s why you need relationships with other believers. That’s why it’s beyond stupid to assume that you don’t need to be engaged with them, despite their faults.


A third kind of believer who tries to hide his light is the one who has believed the lie that his isn’t as bright as somebody else’s.

Here come the comparisons…

  • I’m not as outgoing.
  • I’m not as people-friendly.
  • My marriage isn’t as strong (or I’m divorced).
  • I have failure in my past.
  • I didn’t go to college.
  • I’m a terrible speaker.
  • I can’t sing.
  • I don’t have as much money.

By the way, nobody gets hit with this any harder than… brace for it… preachers.  Twenty-first century church leadership is a breeding ground for inadequacy, inferiority, and insecurity.  How do I know this?  Mind your own business.

Anyway, when Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men…” He really meant YOUR light.  Stop trying to shine somebody else’s light and stop pretending yours isn’t good enough!


Remember that bathrobe?  Yeah, I wore it for a long time. And that air vent in the back just kept getting bigger and bigger.  I’ve since graduated to Mickey Mouse pajama bottoms and t-shirts, which I’m wearing even as I type this from the back porch.  But I haven’t forgotten what stupid smells like, and what the evidence of insanity looks like.

All that’s just silly, but it’s so. Burning a hole in your heart is another matter, my friend. Don’t let competition, conflict, or comparisons hide your light.  Your influence is way too priceless to squander.

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