As a believer in Christ, we are called to be His disciples who share the gospel and grow the kingdom of Heaven. One place this can be found is in Matthew when it says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and hide it under a blanket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 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 5-14:16). I noticed while reading through the other gospel books that there were a few variations of what this metaphor of being the light meant. It would appear to be laid down as a foundation in Matthew and expounded upon in the other books.
What does it Mean to Be the Light?
In the verse we read in Matthew being the Light is showing others the love of Christ through the way we live our life. This can take many forms, but we are the example. Those who don’t know Christ look to us as a representation of God’s character. For those who do know Christ, we are still an example to each other of what it truly looks like to live a life of Faith and Obedience. It’s crucial that we shine bright in a way that aligns with God’s word so that we can be a good representation of Christ’s Love.
Fill Your Heart First with Jesus
Don’t fret, being the light might sound scary or like a lot of responsibility but it’s not yours to worry about. You see in the book of John, it says: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:11). From this we learn that Jesus is the light. The light that we shine, does not come from us, but from Christ in us. Therefore, we should fill our hearts with Him and seek Him to give us wisdom on how to be an example. Pray that He guides you to treat others how He would have. By abiding in Jesus, we will then bear good fruit, allowing our actions to show the love of Christ.
Guard your Heart and Your Eyes
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” That’s right, everything. That’s why God looks upon our hearts because they display the true feelings behind our actions. Make sure to keep your heart filled with heavenly things, so that your behaviors that emerge will be pure.
This is where the next verse about light from the gospel is pieced into this puzzle. In Luke 11:33-36 it reads, “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eyes are the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore, be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
This verse helps us understand that not all things are good in this world, and we must be careful of what we set our eyes on. Through our eyes we take in a lot of information every day about the world we live in. All that information we process has a drastic effect on who we are and how our hearts are shaped. This is why it’s so important that we ask ourselves if what we are looking at with our eyes is glorifying to God. Although we can’t control all the information around us that we consume, we do have the opportunity to make decisions on a lot of it. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and make decisions that align with God’s commandments. By this your heart will be shaped with Holy, Pure, and loving ways. For the things that we can’t control we can ask that God will help guide our paths so that we don’t have to be surrounded by such things.
Let Your Love & Life Be Genuine
In the final passage from Mark, it teaches us to be genuine in all things. “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a blanket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears, let him hear. Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has nothing, more will be given, and from those who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Mark 4:21-25).
The key takeaway, for Me, from this verse, is this: “For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.” For me this says be an authentic love of Christ because not only will people see through your falsehood but so will God. Remember He looks upon the heart. If people who don’t know Jesus can see selfish desire behind your action, what are they going to think of God’s character? That He only wants to do things that benefit Him. Well, we know that’s not true. God is so loving and merciful that He even gave His only son to bear our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven of them and live eternally with Him. These are things we want others to know about God and to experience firsthand. This requires our actions to reflect this type of selfless love, and for it to be genuine.
But, remember this, that if you fill your heart wholly with Jesus, it will be natural to love others as He did. It will be inevitable for the light of Christ to shine through you. If your identity is truly rooted in Christ, it’s impossible for others not to see His Love and His goodness through you.
Light is Consuming
These verses mention lamps put on a stand, which may be a foreign concept to you, but the idea of light is never changing (just like Jesus who is the light). So, as you read these next words, instead of lamps let’s think about modern electricity that we can turn on with a switch.
When a person enters a room, the first thing they typically do is turn on the light. This light will then reach every square inch of the room it can. This represents how we should love everyone that we possibly can.
The brighter the source of light is, the farther it will reach. The more we surrender of our lives to Jesus and let him fill those dark parts of our hearts, the brighter His light will shine through us.
The brighter the light, the farther it will spread, and more potential it has to seep into dark rooms. It may even seep under a door that is blocking the light from being let in. This is the same with people, some may not be interested in knowing about Jesus now, but that little bit of light you shared, can plant a seed in someone’s darkness. Jesus can always grow that seed into something beautiful, and that heart whose door was shut can be opened and be filled with light.
This just shows how light will always consume the dark if we let it and that it is contagious. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ His light consumes our heart and begins to fill the voids of darkness. That light shines brightly through us to others so that they can feel His love and share it also.
As you go about your day think about this: What if your little bit of light could light up the whole world. Imagine if your one act of love caught fire like wildflowers and resulted in so many others to love greater. Well, it can. Love is free so why not share it in abundance. Let your light shine so that others too can experience the love of Christ.