Many folks like to keep their faith in Jesus private. They avoid any declarative statements about their faith in public discourse, even if they are some of the most assertive people about every other subject.
They often hide behind a vague phrase like “religion is a personal thing”, but is it? Is it personal in the sense of being secret? I don’t think so.
For many, this insistence on keeping their faith ‘private’ is actually a poor mask for a lack of conviction about what they profess privately. For others, it is to avoid the questions that it will raise about the inconsistency between their so called private beliefs, and their public lifestyle.
For others still, it is the pathetic need to not offend, and to retain public approval with its perks, that keeps them from taking a public stand for the Lord.
It is for this group that Jesus has the sternest warnings. The group of private believers who in wanting to retain their social standing would rather not take the awkward positions that being a believer often demands we take in the public space.
Now, this is not a call for exhibitionism. In fact, there is a measure of discretion that our faith demands. In reality, our faith ought to be more like perfume than neon lights: everyone should be able to sense it without us making a show of it.
What the bible warns against is the desire to keep our ‘public approval’ while expecting the Lord to make do with our private devotion.
It appears this was what Nicodemus (in John 3) was trying to do when he snuck in to see Jesus at night. Being a leader of the synagogue, associating with Jesus in the day might have had consequences.
If we can’t be definite about Nicodemus’ motives, the bible leaves us no room for doubts when it says…
John 12:42-43 AMP
And yet in spite of all this many even of the leading men (the authorities and the nobles) believed and trusted in Him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that if they should acknowledge Him they would be expelled from the synagogue;  For they loved the approval and the praise and the glory that come from men instead of and more than the glory that comes from God. They valued their credit with men more than their credit with God.
Although it may not appear so to you at first, but truth is, if you are particularly cagey about your faith in Jesus, there’s a good chance it is because, like the folks in this verses above, “you love the approval, and praise, and glory that come from men instead of and more than the glory that comes from God.”
Now Jesus leaves us a dire warning on this issue…
Luke 12:8-9 AMP
And I tell you, Whoever declares openly speaking out freely and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns and denies and rejects and refuses to acknowledge Me before men will be disowned and denied and rejected and refused acknowledgement in the presence of the angels of God.
There’s the temptation after reading this portion to opt for hair splitting, and tunnel into verse 9, from which we can defensively argue that we don’t deny or disown him. That’s futile though, because the standard of proof of not denying him that Jesus accepts is verse 8. To openly declare, speaking freely, and confessing that we are his worshipper and acknowledging him before men.
No. Our faith is not private in the sense that we have come to define it. As Jesus teaches, it is pointless to light a candle and hide it under a basket. When a candle is lit, the proper thing to do with it is to put it on a candle stand so it gives light to everyone.
Take a stand!