How can we SHINE our LIGHTS in our DARK WORLD? "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:14-16)
In the introductory verses of the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ is referred to as "the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (John 1:9), and He was the Light that came into the world (see John 3:19-21). Later on, Jesus spoke of Himself as “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 12:35, 36, 46). As Jesus starts to teach His followers the principles of God’s kingdom, however, He calls His followers “the light of the world” (v. 14). The relationship between these two seemingly contradictory statements is that Jesus is the source of light, and we (His followers) are the reflection of His light. Our function is to shine for Jesus just as the moon reflects the light of the sun!
For us, following Christ goes far beyond private spirituality. It involves our public life, particularly through work and participation in our communities. We use the light shed in our hearts not only to illuminate but also to communicate. Thus, Jesus wants us (as His followers) to shine, to be visible and attractive, not to bring attention to ourselves, but to bring people to God (v. 16). As the “light of the world”, we are to witness our faith in Christ through our personal example and manifest the light by our testimonies and actions.
God provides the light and it continues to shine, but as believers we must keep our lives clean before the Lord in order not to cover up the light which He has placed within us. We need to make sure that nothing comes between us and God (see 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 2:14–16). We know that even the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness. Therefore, we should let our light shine through a clean life before God and before the world in which we live that is a witness to the glory and grace of God.
The light of salvation that we have received in our hearts is also reflected through our good works (acts of mercy and compassion reflected from our transformed lives) that glorify our Heavenly Father. We need to both ‘show and tell’ to others as no one wants to hear what we have to say about God’s love until they see it reflected in our words and actions. Through the light of our testimonies and the impact of our acts of service, people should see the evidence of Christ in our lives. Our actions (light) should point people to the One who is The Light. God has placed us in a specific environment that allows us to shine His light in our dark world.
Thus, we have a valuable treasure of our faith locked in our hearts which should be reflected so that others will understand their need for salvation through Christ. Let us share our hearts with the light of the gospel so that others can open their hearts to God. Are we shining brilliantly with the love and truth of Christ before others today?
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." (Eph. 5:8-11)