Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
He was talking to YOU!
This narrative takes place after Jesus ministers what we call the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Or, as I like to say the "Be-Attitudes". In it, He expresses how we should live and what should be our heart posture. Now, in this portion of the text, He gives us a sense of our #identity by stating that we are "salt" and "light" of the earth. I wont delve to deeply into this, but salt is a necessary agent to persevere something and known for giving any dish a flavor. This is what you do to this world! And, if you look around, it could use a little seasoning.
You are the light of the world:
The illumination derived from a source of light.
The pathway or route of such illumination to a person.
Something that provides information or clarification.
A way of looking at or considering a matter.
A prominent or distinguished person.
A person who inspires.
If you go to free dictionary and type in LIGHT, the definitions are ceaseless.
The main thing I want to reiterate in today's blog post is that YOU matter. Your presence here is IMPORTANT. Your light is not to be kept hidden. You are meant to shine, shine, shine in the midst of darkness. Romans 8:19 says, "For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are."
So, my question to you is what has happened to your light?
What have you allowed to caused the light within you to dim?
What happened to the zeal you had when you first believed?
Ways our light goes dim:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. —Philippians 2:14-16, ESV (emphasis added)
What keeps you from shining?
Sin can dull our shine. Our lives that once sparkled can become clouded with a love for the things of this world. We can conform to the opinions and ideas of others, instead of standing for righteousness. Our pursuits can shift from seeking after God to chasing after fixing our own problems and the deceitfulness of riches, choking out the faith and stability of God's Word. We can subtly have erected the idols of hustle, our jobs, our worries, our desires, and fallen away from the first commandment: to love the Lord with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength.
Therefore, we have to take a look at our lives before we can be a light to others.
Maybe it's time to take a minute and ask God to reveal any sins that you may be ignoring or that has dulled the evidence of Christ in your life. We will never be perfect, but we need to address our sin because it also impacts others. If there is something that you are repeatedly struggling with, then make a conscious effort to write out scriptures on that area, and pray over it continually. Consider going on a fast (I wrote about #fasting here).
It can be good to consider if what we accuse or see as a shortcoming in others, is also something we are guilty of doing as well. This take self-reflection, prayer for blind spots to be revealed, and a willingness to humble ourselves to the truth and before God.
We do not want our light to grow dim, especially not in this hour. It is easy to see a new diamond shining from across a room, but overtime it can collect dust and become dull if it is not cleaned and buffed often.
So how exactly do you shine?
Do not be conformed to this world … —Romans 12:2, ESV
Here are 7 practical tips:
Be careful what you say. The Bible calls the tongue “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Our speech reveals what is in our hearts and what we believe. It is the driving wheel for the vehicle. Our speech should reflect fruit that is sweet to the recipient. This is one ways to allow our light to shine and to give us distinction. (Read 40 Day Word Fast)
Consider your entertainment. There are a lot of genre of shows our there, but what won't you watch? Where are your boundaries on music and movies? Where do you go for fun? Protecting what we consume through our ears and eyes helps us to guard are hearts and become desensitized. Television tells-a-vision, so who's vision are you being entertained by?
Use social media wisely. We live in a digital era where a lot of our lives and entertainment are online. Rarely do we realize is, but people are watching what you post, whether they interact with your posts or not. This goes back to influence and impact, how is what your posting reflecting Christ and what does it influence others to do or believe. What we post is also a great way to do a heart check. Could we be posting from a prideful, boastful and an attention seeking motive? Are we conforming to the world in what we wear and how we interact? Something to think about! (Look out for the post coming soon on how to know when it's time to take a Digital Detox).
Think of others. Consider other people’s needs and help meet them. Going back to point one of being careful what you say, learn to encourage instead of criticize and give others the benefit of the doubt. If you find yourself in a conversation where it is tearing down someone else (gossip), change the subject or walk away from that dialogue.
Being counter-cultural. Don't just go with the flow. Don't simply hop on every internet challenge just because it's trendy. We live in a world that the true agenda behind a think it's always revealed up front, and it can be beneficial to watch, pray, and wait. Matthew 7:13-14 says, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it." While others may chase after temporary pleasures and gain, we are commanded to live differently and usually contrary.
Putting yourself out there. I know my introverts are cringing a little at this thought. The truth is we are called to be light to the people around us. That is only possible if we take the time to interact with people and cultivate relationships.
Always pointing back to the light source. Our goal should never be to bring recognition to ourselves, even when we do something "really well". That glory is reserved for God and that grace to do it was given to us by Him. There is a fine line between being a light and putting on a show, and it is a matter of the heart.
TODAY: Meditate on 1 John 1:5-10:
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.
Until next time,