Jesus said this about us in Matthew 5:14 – 16: “You are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
Ok, so what’s a light actually DO? For one thing, a light dispels darkness. Where the light is, darkness leaves. So, to understand what’s so important about being a light, you have to think a little about what the problem is with being in the dark.
Specifically, when you’re in the dark, you can’t see where you’re going. You have to go slowly, you shuffle your feet, grope with your hands, grasp ahead of you, you slip, stumble, bump into things, you even get hurt.
You can get your sense of direction messed up when you’re in total darkness. You can think you’re going one way, when actually you’re going the opposite way. That’s a real problem.
Then, there’s the foreboding sense of danger. You can’t see the potholes, ditches and traps that might be set for you. Maybe there are poisonous snakes, spiders and rats just waiting to bite you. Or, worse yet, a thief or mugger lurking in the darkness, poised to attack you.
Thirdly, when you’re in the dark, you can be surrounded by good things, helpfulness and opportunity, but you just can’t see them. You can be literally within reach of the things that you have need of, and miss out on them, because you can’t see them.
Imagine this: You’re broke, cold, hungry, scared, afraid to move, and in the dark. The electricity is out, and you’re in a neighborhood you’ve never been in before.
All of a sudden, the lights come on! Right in front of you is a bag full of money, and there’s a clothing store, a restaurant, a police station, and a nice warm motel! All within a few yards from you! Imagine how happy and relieved you’d feel! You were within just minutes from having all your needs met, but you never knew it!
That’s what’s important about light. It brings comfort, answers, security, protection, satisfaction and safety. Jesus said that YOU are the light of the world. You are a SECURITY light!
But what happens is, that our natural shyness, not wanting to interfere, our reluctance to talk to people about spiritual things, all these hold us back. We forget how awful it is to be groping in the dark, even though, for US, it’s like noon time! “They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope in the noonday as in the night.” That’s what Job 5:14 says.
What about people who have gotten USED to the darkness, to the point that they actually LIKE it? That DOES happen to people, it says so in John 3:19. They’ve learned to use the darkness for a cover to do all kinds of things that aren’t right. The light would expose what they’re doing, so they reject the light.
What do you do then? First off, realize that a person gets into self-destructive behavior usually because of frustration, pain or disappointment. In other words, the fear, pain and hurt of the darkness causes them to seek comfort in whatever they can find at hand.
How do you deal with it? First of all, you DON’T blast them with a spotlight right in the face. That’s what MOST religious people do. They either say NOTHING, or they blind the person with the light!
Do you ever have that happen? When you’re sleeping and in the middle of the night someone walks into the room and turns on the light? If you’re used to the dark the light seems blinding! Who would want that?
So, how do you do it? You start with a glow! Jesus said to let your light SO shine…Or, “Let your light shine in a way that people may SEE…” NOT let your light shine in a way that it fries their eyeballs and blinds them!
Aren’t you glad?! You don’t HAVE to, in fact, God doesn’t WANT you to go over and shine stadium lights in your friends’ eyes! As humans, we’re natural extremists. We have this tendency for “all or nothing thinking.” That means we either say nothing or we blow them out of the water!
See, the goal ISN’T to just let them know that you love Jesus. The goal is that THEY would want to love Jesus, too! The point is for them to see that having God in your life makes it better, that your “good” WORKS in your life. Then, for them to want Him in their lives, too.
A person sitting in total “cave blackness” ISN’T going to appreciate or think good of someone who is so thoughtless as to blast them in the face with a floodlight! Jesus said for us to let our light shine in such a way that they can see, AND to think well of God, as a result!
That’s right, the goal is for them to see the good in your life and to think well of God; for them to clearly sense that a person’s life goes better when God is in charge of it. It’s for them to note that when God is in your life, good results come. That walking with God makes you happier, calmer, more satisfied and generally just better off than you would be without Him.
You HAVE to know this, so you can understand what I’m going to bring you next. This is one of the big reasons that God wants to bless you, help you, heal you, prosper you and make things go well for you.
He WANTS to “put a difference between the holy and the unholy. Or, as it says in 1 Timothy 4:15, after telling us that “godliness is profitable in all things,” that God’s will is for your “profiting to appear to all.”
God wants it to be plain and obvious to anyone who is familiar with you, that He is at work in your life. And, that it’s GOOD to be associated with Him. He says in Deuteronomy 8:18 that, HE “giveth thee power to get wealth…” Why? That “He may establish His covenant.”
In other words, God WANTS to help you, even in your finances, so you can be blessed, so people can recognize His hand in your life and so you can support His work in establishing His covenant to seek and to save people who are lost and in darkness.
It’s NOT selfish to ask God to bless you, prosper you and promote you, if you’re letting your light shine in a way that people will be able to see the hand of God in your life. The GOODNESS of God, Romans 2:4 says, is what leads people to repentance. Not the judgements of God and not the anger or wrath of God. It’s His GOODNESS that draws people to Him.
That’s why Psalm 35:27 says to let God become BIGGER in your life. “Let the Lord be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity (not poverty) of his servant.” He wants you to be in a favorable condition. Then, others will want to have his blessing in their own lives and families.
You NEED to know this, if you’re going to be a good light. You need to know that God wants to bless you and all that pertains to you; that He wants to bless the works of your hands, to meet your needs and to work on your behalf.
It’s OK to pray and ask for help, not just for you, but for the sake of your family and friends. These are people that you have an obligation to help and guide. Of course, God wants to help you in it!
Last, is your mouth. Give God the credit. Let people KNOW where your blessings, your ideas, your opportunities and open doors come from. That, “He it is that giveth thee power (Duet. 8:18).” Let them know of the blessings that have come into your life through the people and teaching you get here at church.
Let them know that they, too, can enjoy a more fruitful and satisfying life through their relationship with God and his people. Invite them to receive what YOU’VE received.
And, to meet who YOU’VE met. Ask them to join you in worship and service, to “come to the Light,” walk in the light, and to BECOME a light! LET your light so shine, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven!