“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Remember the children’s Bible song, This Little Light of Mine? You know the next phrase, right? “I’m gonna let it shine.” Simple. Memorable. Effective.
In fact, that catchy tune and its easy to remember lyrics present a powerful Biblical message. But I wonder if it’s so simple, we miss the point.
We reflect the light of Christ. He is the light of the world. And it is the mission of His followers to illuminate the world with the light of the gospel.
Recently, I shared the story of my first cross-country adventure. On that journey, I recall traveling through the desert at night. Talk about dark. No illuminated signs or highway lighting. Just the old Chevy headlights to light my path. Occasionally a vehicle would pass by. There was no sign of human life. No houses, buildings, gas stations, or restaurants. Just open road.
Then after several hours seemingly in the middle of nowhere, I saw a most glorious sight in the distance. At first it appeared as a soft glow. Eventually, that flicker turned into a glowing light revealing a town where I could get gas for my car, food for my body, and a little conversation to cheer my heart.
The place where I stopped to eat was a dive, but then again at three in the morning you can’t be picky. When I walked through the door, the dozen or so people in the room stared at me. While I ate my meal, a man who had left returned and stopped by my table. “Did you drive here all the way from Hawaii?” he asked.
A fellow sitting at the bar called out, “Where’d you get such a crazy idea?”
“Saw the Hawaii tags on his car,” said the man.
With that, the room broke out in laughter, which led to a cheerful conversation about where I had been, where I was headed, and my job in the Navy.
Thirty minutes before, I was feeling down, lonely, and uneasy. But then I entered the light where my needs were met and my spirits were lifted.
This Little Light of Mine Provides Illumination through the Darkness of Evil.
Of course, when Jesus refers to darkness and our role as light in the world, He is speaking in a spiritual sense. The world is inherently evil, in darkness, and without everlasting hope. Jesus is the light sent by God to deliver mankind from the darkness of wickedness and the eternal torment of hell.
This Little Light of Mine is Part of the Christian DNA.
So how do you make your light shine? The good news is you don’t have to be a great evangelist or religious leader to fulfill Jesus’ expectation. Remember, Jesus says you ARE light. You don’t just act like light, it’s who you are. So letting your light shine should come naturally.
We gain greater understanding when we examine the Lord’s instruction in context.
“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.” Matthew 5:14-16
This Little Light of Mine Should Never Be Hidden.
We are light — but we can hide the light by our own volition. It’s like putting on a disguise to avoid being recognized. Possibly our reason is fear of ridicule, harassment, or disapproval. Whatever the rationale, it is wrong, and dangerous.
“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26
If you continually attempt to hide your identity in Christ, you need to examine yourself to see that you are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5) Such behavior is a red flag to the nonexistence of saving faith.
Jesus said you’re to let your light shine “before others, that they may see your good deeds.” (Matthew 5:16) Your light then is your interaction with others, those things you do that honor God. It’s not just preaching and witnessing, although that’s a vital part of it. It’s good works that help, heal, lift up, and bless. And it’s treating others with grace, mercy, and love.
Make this commitment today. “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Part in the Great Commission
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.