Thursday, January 6, 2022

Pastor's Note

 Let your light shine.

We have that Sunday School children’s song, “I’m gonna let it shine.” As we explore the nuances of Letting our light shine, a few pertinent questions come to the forefront: What does it mean to let our light shine, how can we let our light shine and what is the end goal?

What does this mean, “Let your light shine?”

 This most basic preparatory question is answered as Jesus used common everyday life examples for us to explore the meaning of this phrase, “let your light shine.”

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-15)

A city on a hill is easily seen in the darkness and in the light. A city on a hill is a great defensive place to be in the ancient world. Cities provided protection from marauding bands of wreckless hoodlums. They had markets for food and commerce. Cities created environments for personal interaction with other members of the city. There were elders and leaders who gave wise counsel for citizens of the city. A city on a hill was a source of security; you could be safe within its walls. 

As Christians, we have an immense opportunity to be like this city. We can be providing wise counsel; we can provide safety and a stronghold in a world that is troubled and dangerous. In short, the presence of Christians in the world is meant to be a positive influence. It will be present because of the Light of Jesus inside of us.

The second picture is of an oil lamp. In a dark room, the small flame of an oil lamp provides an amazing amount of light. Our small candles on Christmas Eve give us that same perspective: small light that brightens up the dark sanctuary.In the ancient world, sundown means a blanket of darkness that shuts down all normal activity. You must use daylight to get the majority of your work done because nighttime shadows make productive work more difficult and even, at times, dangerous. A small little light could make a world of difference as you chop vegetables or add spices to the stew. If you mend a torn garment in the dark of your home, that little flame from your oil lamp would allow your fingers to be free from being poked by a needle or cut by a scissors. This small light might keep you from stubbing your toe or overlooking an important item. This small light provides safety, direction, insight, and contrast to the surrounding darkness.

We Christians ARE a light. We can’t help but be a light because the glory of Christ’s love shines into the darkness of our hearts. Now that light pierces the dismal chill of surrounding despair. We let our light shine.

How can we let our light shine? 

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works. (Matthew 5:16)” When faith takes light in your heart and life, it sparks a chain reaction that means something in you will change for the better. The key part of that phrase is “for the better;” your life will shift from upside down and backward to standing straight and tall, moving forward in a God-pleasing direction. Jesus’ lordship gives us plenty of directives for how to live, act, speak, think in this culture.


When the light of faith is kindled, our desires and motivations change to Biblical; we become different than the world around us. We shift to a model of behavior that mirrors God’s loving attitude toward us and is an antithesis to the world’s darkness. Our words are truer and friendlier. Our motivations are directed for the good of others. There will be heroic and selfless actions that follow this illuminating faith. This is the power of the Holy Spirit in us as He lights up our dead and dark hearts. This power from God’s Spirit creates a special flame of light that stands in stark contrast to the dark deeds of the world around us.

The latest Forward in Christ has an article by Pastor Ryan Kolander which provides two great examples; of how light does shine out. Paul, one of the featured men in the article, bought a Bible and started reading it. His friends noticed that he was not the same troublemaker as before. His demeanor was altered. He was so different that they encouraged him to NOT come with them on some nefarious activity. “Go home, Paul. This isn’t for you.” His light was naturally shining in the darkness.

By faith, we each have the light of CHrist inside of us. But we must be careful to keep it in the open and not hide it from the world. The people living in darkness need to see that there is another way to live, to act, and to exist. Dark behavior only leads to a hellish end UNLESS Jesus’ light erases that darkness.  “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Colossians 1:13 HCSB). Jesus has rescued us. Now is the time to let that light shine. This gets the attention of darkness.

What is the end goal?

Good deeds will come out of our faith life. The end goal of these good deeds is that the Heavenly Father receives glory. “. . . so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-15) Our Father in Heaven has some fantastic attributes: generous, benevolent, pure, just, always right, wise, loving, truth telling. When we give Him glory, we are highlighting one of His magnificent characteristics. He gets to break through the darkness of the world’s misunderstandings about Him and see Him as He is: brilliant, bold and enjoyable. He is powerful and engaging, not distant. He is not aloof but desires to be close to us as His children.

But, sadly, it is darkness that keeps us away from approaching God or anything that is related to Him, including church. We avoid opening the Bible because our dark centers fear what we see about ourselves and about God’s purity.

When God’s light shatters the darkness of a human’s soiled soul, that person is not destroyed but altered to reflect the brilliance of God in small doses. Our good deeds crack open an insight into God’s astounding character. We do even the smallest amount of good and it is like pulling back the curtain of unbelief so that others around us can see a tremendous Love - they see God through our deeds. They begin to see His grace displayed in our gentleness. They see His bold truth-telling in our speech. Every display of the light of faith that burns in us is for the exact purpose of revealing God to the world. 

We are God’s chosen instrument of revelation. THis revelation matches what the Bible says: grace to the sinners, freedom for the prisoners, love for the lost, joy for the saddened heart, and lifting up for those who have been beaten down. We become a living, breathing rendition of bits and pieces of God’s good nature. In fact, this lies also in the term “Christian.” Christian means Little Christ. We are a miniature version of CHrist. Because Jesus lives in us, parts of His goodness will shine out of us. And God the Father will be glorified.

All this is meant to be an encouragement to each of us as CHristians. This is not forced or coerced; this is natural. Let your light shine BECAUSE Jesus’ Light lives in you. We only need to let is shine out so that the eerie shadows of darkness can dissipate. 

Blessings to each of you! Let your light shine!

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