In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. –Matthew 5:16
There is something so inviting about candlelight, is there not? I have a candle in my office at home. Late at night, after the kids go off to bed, I like to sit in my darkened office with only the light of this single candle on. I love how the flame flickers. I love the warm glow that comes from this solitary candle as it offers up a soft amber glow. It’s peaceful. It’s warm. It’s inviting. It makes me slow down and reflect on what is important.
In today’s Scripture, part of what is popularly referred to as the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus uses candlelight to paint a simple, yet powerful image of Christ-followers as the conduit of God’s warm and life-giving light. Shining this light, according to the passage, is wholly connected to how we live our lives before others.
In living “the light,” we are to put on display a life that is attractive, like the warm glow of a candle as it offers up the hope of something more. What I find fascinating about what Jesus said is that as the result of our “light,” others will glorify God. Apparently letting our light shine is a grace-giving, God-glorifying thing. I wonder, is this what the world enjoys because of Christians letting their light shine? Does our “light” bring joy, peace, grace, and healing? Or does it bring division, hate, judgment, and condemnation? One brings life; the other, death.
If you want a mind-blowing experience, take a week to strike up conversations with people you meet everyday. Ask them what their experience of Christians and Christianity has been like. See if those interactions have brought about life and light or have brought about condemnation and shame. See if they have resulted in a glorifying of God.
May we be the kinds of people who shine the light of hope, the light of love, and grace into a darkened world. And may those who see the light be drawn to it, invited into its warmth.
1. How do you “let your light shine before others”?
2. How would you like your light to shine brighter?
Matthew 5:14-16; John 1:1-14