Those who follow Jesus Christ want to be a light as He says we should be (Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:13-16 13 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×). Unfortunately, many think letting their light shine means pushing and threatening people. Screaming insults, chanting, or pushing our way into other’s lives usually has the opposite effect on people. Matthew 5:16 Matthew 5:16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×holds the key. Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” We are to let them see our good works, not force our beliefs upon them.
Many of us want to share what we have learned with others. After all, God’s way and Christ’s message are exciting. But sometimes people are not prepared to sit and listen. I have found myself speaking to someone about what I have learned when I notice their expression go blank. At that point, I know he or she has quit listening, so I wrap it up and stop talking. The problem is not that we want to share our zeal with people, but that our message is only heard if the hearers want to listen. Once they shut down there is no point. I am not saying to not talk about God, but not to waste time on those who will not listen (Acts 28:27 Acts 28:27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
American King James Version×). One problem we may have is telling others how to live God’s way, but not letting them see it in the way we live.
We greatly influence others by the way we live our lives. It does not have to always be in substantial gestures. It is often the small things people consistently see in us over time that have the greatest impact. I once worked in a large office. I did not curse, but those around me often did. I never corrected them as it was not my place in that environment, but over time they noticed I did not swear. When they were around me they were careful not to do it, but if they slipped they apologized to me. I had never said a word but had influenced their behavior by my actions. A small thing, but it shows how our actions can influence others. I have seen this happen time and again in various ways. This can also open the door to conversation as they wonder why we are different.
Have you ever watched a protest? Arguments or actual fights often break out between the opposing parties. When this happens, both sides appear intolerant and certainly not loving. But loving our neighbor is essential in Christian life (Matthew 22:39 Matthew 22:39And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×; Galatians 5:14 Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×; Mark 12:31 Mark 12:31And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
American King James Version×). As Christians, we are to walk a different walk. We are to be a people who are loving and caring, trying to walk uprightly in God’s way with integrity (Proverbs 10:9 Proverbs 10:9He that walks uprightly walks surely: but he that perverts his ways shall be known.
American King James Version×; Psalm 119:3). By doing so we become brighter lights to those around us. As children, we may have been told to be good examples to others. This is exactly the advice Jesus Christ is giving us. Do good, not evil (3 John 1:11 3 John 1:11Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God.
American King James Version×).
How we act is important. If we want to show God’s presence within us, we should emulate Jesus Christ’s ways and words in our actions. Some people get lots of attention for being kind to others in showy ways. We want to shine a brighter light by quietly showing how God’s kindness and love work in us. God’s Word is the light that guides us (Psalms 119:105 Psalms 119:105Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
American King James Version×). You surely have wonderful memories of someone from your past. It is likely a person who showed you great love. Someone you looked up to, or who showed you how life should be lived. It is usually a person who you respected that holds an esteemed place in your memory. Whatever it was about that person, it made an impact on you. We want to have that kind of impact on others.
We are to look for the good in everyone, even our enemies (Luke 6:27-28 Luke 6:27-28 27 But I say to you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which spitefully use you.
American King James Version×). Our actions are remembered. Each time we show we are peaceful, in control and kind instead of angry, we shine a light. We are told people will know us by our fruits (Matthew 7:16-20 Matthew 7:16-20 16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Why by their fruits you shall know them.
American King James Version×). Fruits can grow or shrivel up—it depends on how they are cared for. When we shine our light by living God’s way, those fruits grow and people around us see them.
When we acknowledge good in others and they see goodness in us, they often open a door to us by asking more about what we have learned. Even if the door opens only a crack, we have an opportunity to slip in a word or two. There does not have to be a long conversation. Anything we tell someone about God’s way and His son Jesus Christ helps. The brighter light God gives us may just be the spark that begins to light their pathway to God.