In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus speaks of His followers in terms of light – light that is visible to others in the good works they demonstrate. Light guides us in the darkness. Lights line our streets at night. Lights help guide airplane pilots in landing. Light draws attention. Our light should draw attention and guide others to God. Our efforts are not to glorify ourselves, but our lights should shine regardless of where we are.
Specific Points of Light
What does our clothing say about who we are. Whether justified or not, we and others often make snap decisions about people and their morality by how they dress themselves. I Timothy 2:9-10 speaks specifically to women, warning them to avoid putting too much concern in their adornments. (See also I Peter 3:3-4.) However, the application applies to both sexes. Paul speaks of respectable apparel, using self-control, not drawing improper attention to one’s physical appearance. Our dress can differentiate us from the world and show that we really are trying to be different. (On a related note, what does our dress reflect when we come to worship?) We should be more concerned with people noticing our godly behaviors than what we are wearing.
Our light is also evident in our language. What attitude do we demonstrate in how we speak and the words we choose? Depending on our work or living situations, we may be inundated with improper language to the point we might become numb. However, as Christians, our standard is supposed to be God’s rather than man’s. Exodus 20:7 sets forth a principle that His followers should not take God’s name in vain – a mild curse by society’s standards. Colossians 4:5-6 asks us to watch our conduct, reminding us to watch what we say and how we say it. Our choice of words and topics we engage in can cheapen the examples we set, and, if we are digesting unworthy topics and language, that’s what we will reflect. This is why, in Philippians 4:8, Paul asks that we focus on certain qualities over others, and Philippians 5:4 warns us of the tone in our speech. Our words are to build up. We should be thinking before we speak.
Our schedules and priorities can also stifle our lights. To an extent, some of our schedule is out of our hands. We can’t predict every event that will demand our attention. Work schedules can be unpredictable. However, when we do start cutting back, it’s often God’s work that gets cut first. Mark 16:16 speaks of teaching God’s word as our primary responsibility. If we claim to be Christians, but if we schedule God out of our lives, how can we follow Him? How can we bring others to Him? God comes before anything else in our lives, and our time use should reflect that priority. We dishonor Him when other worldly concerns come before Him.
Matthew 7:3-5 speaks to the problem of hypocrisy, the way it hinders our ability to reach out and help others. If what we teach does not agree with what we do, then we are allowing our light to fade. These items are just three small focuses that can help us be better examples and concentrate on putting God first in our lives, and there are many other applications we can make in letting our lights shine. Our appearance and our language reflect our inner selves. These qualities demonstrate to others the true quality of our hearts, and our time use is one reflection of how we prioritize God in our lives.
We should be concerned that we avoid blinding others with our light, demonstrating our own sense of righteousness. Rather our lights should be pointing others toward God. Whether or not it is considered popular, our lives should reflect godliness if we want to draw attention to our Father.
lesson by Kris Casebolt