Look at a picture of a group of people. Can you pick out the Christians? You’d probably be wrong. We are told to grin by the photographer, and since they say Christians are happier they’d all look happy. The one Christian with a grumpy face might actually have diarrhea. So externals are not the key.
Truth be told God does not want people recognizing you externally for your faith. Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
This needs some explaining. What is dead in your old self?
Baptism symbolizes death to your old life
When you were baptized in water that indicated to the world that you were washing away not just your old sins but also your interest and commitment to committing new sins. Baptism is the outward evidence of an inward change. Of course in real life, we continue to struggle. God does not suddenly make us perfect in our natural life because the process of dealing with our innate propensity to disobey God must be over come.
Overcomers create their personal success
That is why God applauds the “overcomers.” They have learned to use their new found relationship to the King of kings to fight off temptation. And that does not happen overnight. God’s new life in us is spiritual, and since we cannot see spirits we do not notice the changes in others, and frequently not in ourselves.
God may call you “dead,” which you are in theory, but you are still going through the process of holiness, yes, that is what it is called, that brings you out of the habits of sin and into a life of peace and joy. So Paul can say this:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Holiness was once a major tenant of the church
I’m willing to bet you haven’t heard this
A group of middle age women I once taught, mostly single, were shocked to learn that after you are saved all forms of sex outside of marriage are a no-no. Some groups applaud their sexual license by forming whole congregations. Do not expect to find any truth told there. That group of women got rid of me post haste. They didn’t want to hear it.
First John says, 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. A congregation of people involved in open sin, and applauding themselves will have no truth to offer to themselves or to others. It’s delusion.
But this does not tell us why God hides the believers. It is simple. The purpose of the gospel is to draw men to Christ while human beings are drawn to other humans. A person who is a leader upon whom the public showers accolades is often the very person who falls into sin, very publicly.
Tiger Woods used his down time
Being hidden is a form of protection. People do not need to know where you are in God; they need to know where they are! But we push leaders and celebrities and often that brings them into public condemnation. One recent victor over personal sin is Tiger Woods. his turnaround is remarkable. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/17/tiger-woods-presidential-medal-freedom-president-trump/3490395002/
And just as you would expect people will now cut him down for his amazing turnaround, the sorry lot of celebrity status. Tiger’s being away from the public eye for so many years was actually a way for him to be protected and make life changes without interference. Tiger may not be a believer but his case is still an example of being hidden while you focus of making critical changes in your life.
Sin is personal; salvation is personal, and God wants Jesus, his agent of salvation, to be the center of who we are and what we do, not a public display.
Counselors frequently suggest that individuals and married couples have a yearly assessment of their “business plan” – where God is taking them, what needs to be changed, and how they are going to reach those goals. I’ve done this myself recently, I’d advise it for you too.