Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
My youth pastor's wife is the most encouraging person I know. Being influenced by her from junior high on, she consistently edified me in numerous ways. One way she did this is that she always told me to, "Shine for Jesus." Or, "Be a light for Jesus."
When I moved ten hours away for college I still remember her telling me, "Hester, be a star for Jesus. I want to see you twinkle all the way over here!" Her words remain in my heart as I strive to be a bright light for Christ.
The very nature of light is to illuminate; to transmit the essence of its existence and being. Darkness is the absence of light. Light penetrates the darkness and reveals the reality around us.
As Jesus' disciples, He tells us we are the light of the world. We are called to exude the radiance of the Son in this dark and sin-soaked universe. We are expected to transmit the truth of who Christ is to others by how we live. Christ is the light of the world. As His followers, we should follow suit by living in this light and permeate the world around us with His truth.
Sometimes our light is more like a 60 watt bulb instead of a 600 watt bulb. Maybe we've been told by others to keep our faith to ourselves. Perhaps we feel defeated by our circumstances. Or, we struggle to gain victory over the same besetting sin.
The closer we walk with Christ, the brighter we become. Without intimate fellowship, our light cannot exude His brilliance. We become radiant when we spend time with the SON!
In our key verse from Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells His followers to be as visible as a city set on a hill, as were most cities in the first century. Even on the darkest night a light can be seen for miles. A common lamp in a Jewish home was typically small and was put on a stand in order to reveal its maximum brightness.
From this verse we glean a few truths. First, light is meant to illuminate its surroundings. Second, our light is meant to be seen by others. The result of light fulfilling its purpose is two-fold: First, the world will see this light by the good deeds done by believers, and our Father in heaven will be glorified.
Glory is brought to God when we shine His light. When we emulate what He has done for us, we draw others to Him. We get to bring His light into someone else's darkness by making the Light of the World known to them. How do we do this?
- Have you experienced God's mercy? . . .Then shine mercy.
- Have you received Christ's forgiveness? . . . Then radiate forgiveness.
- Have you felt His compassion? . . . Then extend compassion to the hurting.
- Has Jesus' love captured you? . . . Then sprinkle this love around.
- Has the Messiah's grace unleashed your freedom? . . . Then exude grace to others.
Jesus makes a point with this word picture. As a light, a Christian who reflects the Father's work is visible. The one who does not reflect the Father's work will blend into the darkness. If we are not visible in this dark world, then we are not being the shining light we have been declared to be. As people redeemed from darkness, a natural by-product is to shine the light of Christ.
"Watt" kind of light are you?
Write down five qualities you want others to see because of your relationship with Jesus?
What three specific ways can you shine your light for Christ this week?
Think of one person you know who shines the light of Christ. What causes you to admire them?
What holds you back from being a 600 Watt light bulb? Or, what tempts you from hiding what Christ means to your life?
How is the myth, "Christians should keep their faith private?" contrary to what Scripture teaches?
Do you radiate forgiveness, grace and love OR do you exude judgment, harshness and pride?
Think of your life as a "city on a hill." How far does your light reach?
Heart Changing Word:
Psalm 27:1 (NIV) "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
Daniel 12:3 "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."
Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
John 1:5 & 9 "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."
John 8:12, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' "
Philippians 2:14-15 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe."
1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
1 John 1:5-6 "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth."
Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.