Let Your Light Shine

Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

“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.”

In this verse our Lord has commanded us to be examples to a world filled with darkness and hopelessness. We are the lamps and the light we emit represents our good works, which must be done solely for the purpose of glorifying our Father in heaven. The life we lead as Christians should be visible and obvious, not secret or hidden, and should represent a life not conformed to the world, but separate, or holy (Romans 12:1-2). We must not camouflage our devotion to Christ, but humbly do all we can to allow its truest colors to be seen where we live.

This is not a contradiction to what Jesus commands in Matthew 6:1, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them.” One draws attention to God; in the other, it is drawn to self. It is the Christian’s commission to live in such a way as to make God visible in a world that is blind to Him. Remember, the result needs to be the enhancement of God’s reputation in the world, not the aggrandizement of the lamp.

Are you a lamp? Does the Spirit of God pour out of you in every thought, word, and action? We all have work to do in this area, but let us not allow our silent witness to the world tarnish the image of God by a daily walk mired in worldliness. Be a light for your family, for your co-workers, and for your community all the while recognizing we are only borrowing the light of our Lord and that it is not of ourselves; for to do otherwise relegates us to nothing more than a modern day Pharisee.

Notice also that Jesus puts an emphasis on our good works: it is not enough to simply sit in a pew once a week and passively ingest a sermon. We who profess Christ are called to use the light within us to share the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), while faithfully ministering to those lost and hurting.

Let others see a difference in you. Let them see Christ in everything you think, say, and do so that those around you will want that light as well. This is why it is so important to understand God's purpose for our lives.

If you are struggling with understanding what it is God wants you to do for Him, please pray in earnest for such wisdom to come upon you. God wants to use you for His glory--He wants to let the light He has placed in you shine forth in a declaration that you are His and He is yours.

Do not hide your lamp.