“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matt. 5:14, 15, NKJV)
This is Jesus’ instruction to us who profess to believe in Him. As I have gone through life, I’ve met people I knew were Christian before they ever said one word about God, church or what they believed. Their character and way of conducting themselves or their business told the world who they were. Sadly, I’ve known others who professed loud and long they were Christian, some even boasting about their positions in their church. But after being around them in day to day business, I wondered. The first group of individuals were indeed lights set on a hill offering light to the world. The second group, no real light emanated from them.
Jesus went on saying, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16, NKJV) The Amplified Version says “…that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds…”
We are instructed to be light not only to show others, but to cause them to glorify our Father in heaven. Those who say they are Christian but don’t act like Christ, bring dishonor to God. How can we be a witness to the world and lead them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ when we act like sinners ourselves? There is a reason that some nonbelievers complain about hypocrites in the church – too often it’s true. Some even reject Christ because they were mistreated by someone who professed to be a Christian.
The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:8-10 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”
“…finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” How do we do that? The answer starts in Matt. 5:17. Jesus goes from talking about us being the light of the world to the law. Yes, I know we are no longer under the law, we are under grace. However, Jesus said He did not do away with the law, but He fulfilled it. The rest of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 deals with how we are to live. He teaches us how we can be the light of the world. The old saying goes “actions speak louder than words” and we know that to be true. When we live as He instructs us to live, our actions will speak in a way that glorifies our Father and our words will be heard more clearly when we do speak of the things of God.
Father, I pray that I may become blameless and harmless, a child of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom I can shine as a light in the world. In Jesus Name, Amen. (Phil 2:15)
Peace and blessings.