Last time we looked at Jesus telling his followers that they were “salt” In Matthew 5. Immediately after this, he uses another metaphor. “You are light” – a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, a lamp that is not covered up. (Matthew 5.14-15) He continues: “In the same way let your light shine before men so they can see the good that you do and praise your father in heaven” (vs 16). He has given us a light to shine in the world around us so others recognize Him. Let’s look at some different lights and discuss how we can shine for Him.
Flashlight – Psalm 119.105, declares that the Word of God is like a “lamp for our feet and a light for our path”. There is a lot of darkness in the world and the only light is Jesus who shines in the darkness (John 1.4,5&9). That brings to mind the flashlight. When you go camping, one of the most important items to bring with you, I suggest, is a flashlight. Navigating your surroundings at night is challenging without one. If you need to take a path through the words, light will help keep you from running into stumps, rocks, roots or poison ivy. So how can we be flashlights. We can study God’s word. The verse mentioned above tells us its God’s word that lights our path and guides our feet to where we should be. So as we learn and live out the truth of God’s word in our life, He can use us to light the way for others that may have wandered off His path. In Psalm 119.11, we are reminded that hiding God’s “word in our heart” will help keep us from “sinning against Him”. So not only studying it, and memorizing it, but making it the guide for our life.
And a flashlight is useless as it comes, it needs an internal power source. The same applies to us. We need the internal power source of relationship with Jesus to make the light shine. So draw near to Him, study His word and shine for others to see.
Lighthouse – I grew up about an hour from the Atlantic Ocean. It was common for the scenic coastline to be dotted with lighthouses. More than a pretty addition to the coastline, they are strategically placed, and have 2 major purposes – to warn of dangers and to guide to safety. Likewise, God is very strategic. He has placed us where we are and invite us to shine His light boldly. We can share of the dangers that exist in the world around us and invite those that are facing those dangers to know the God of refuge that can help them. We must offer both awareness of danger and paths to safety. Warning of dangers and then saying “so good luck” as they continue on is not helpful. They need to know the refuge and protection that God offers. Let’s remember how we found refuge in the midst of danger and how Great our God is. Let’s be inviting and urgent.
And another thing about lighthouses -they are always on, and they may not know who they help. Our job is to shine God’s light in our world boldly and consistently. We may never know who we help or how we help them. But God can and does use his people in amazing and unexpected ways.
Nightlight – I have 2 older brothers. When I was 8 years old, I got my own bedroom. I was very excited – my own space to decorate, set up and mess up as I saw fit! But one thing I wasn’t counting on. When night time came, I realized that it was scary to be alone. My room was quite dark! So I decided to sleep with my door open. You see we had a Fred Flintstone nightlight in the hallway that gave off a warm, comforting glow. Even with that faint light, I was able to drift off to sleep feeling a certain level of comfort. And on nights when my room seemed extra scary, good ol’ Fred faithfully lit the hall so I could go to my parents room and tell them about what was scaring me.
How can we be a nightlight? We can be that warm, calming presence in the life of people who are afraid of what life is bringing their way. It is a privilege to be called to comfort those in distress. While it is almost always challenging, Our God is the great comforter and He can use us to share His perfect comfort with others.
Spotlight – A few years ago, a friend of mine worked for a local minor league hockey team. Before an afternoon game one day, he invited me to operate one of the spotlights during player introductions. My job was simple. Shine the this massive bright light around the crowd until player introductions started. Then the arena lights would all go down and my job was to move the beam of the spotlight to the ice surface and track the player as he skated to his place. All attention was focused on the player that was introduced. Then repeat with the next player. Similarly, if you have been to a concert or a stage play, lighting is an important part of the experience. In each of these cases, a spotlight is used to draw the attention of the audience to a specific place. We can play this role as lights in this world as well. We can shine our light so others see and focus their attention on Jesus, the lover of their soul who desires so much for them to know Him and accept Him as their Savior.
He calls us to be His light in the world. Like a city on a hill, there is nowhere to hide. So let’s boldly shine His light for all to see. Let’s help people find the path that leads to Him, where they find refuge and security that only He can provide, and let’s always point others to Him. Go light the world for Jesus!