What does it mean to show your true colors? It means to reveal yourself as you really are, rather than as you appear to be to others. It means showing your true character rather than hiding behind a mask intended to deceive others or mislead them into thinking you something else.
The phrase “show one’s true colors” has a nautical origin. The word “colors” refers to the flag that a ship is required to fly while at sea. It was once common for a pirate ship to sail under “false colors” by flying a friendly flag that enabled the ship to get in close quarters to a ship that it intended to capture. Once the pirate ship got close enough to the other ship, the friendly flag would be taken down and the ship’s “true colors” would be revealed.
The “true colors” of a believer should be reflective of a changed life, a life being lived in a way that reflects Christ. If we are truly living in Christ, He will be our treasure and where our treasure is, there our hearts will be as well (). Our “true colors” should also be reflected in our conduct. The things that we do should be done with humility, which will reveal a wisdom that comes from God (James 3:13). This is a wisdom that is pure, that is peaceable; a wisdom that is gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits. It is a wisdom that is never partial and always sincere; a wisdom that comes only from God (James 3:17).
On the other hand, earthly wisdom reveals itself in ungodly ways. Earthly wisdom fosters selfish ambition and jealousy (James 3:14-15). We live for ourselves only and not for God and certainly not for other people. The conduct that follows this type of wisdom does not foster peace but rather disorder and sin (James 3:16).
As believers, our true colors should not reflect earthly wisdom. We should always seek godly wisdom rather than earthly wisdom. Godly wisdom can change our lives, allowing us to become more like Christ. And, when we become more like Him, His “true colors” become ours, colors that we can then display in a world that so desperately needs them.