“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
“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 5:16
This little light of mine/I'm going to let it shine. This little light of mine/I'm going to let it shine. Let it shine/Let it shine/Let it shine. Hide it under a bushel-No!/I'm going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel-No!/I'm going to let it shine. Let it shine/Let it shine/Let it shine. Don't let Satan blow it out/I'm going to let it shine. Don't let Satan blow it out/I'm going to let it shine. Let it shine/Let it shine/Let it shine.
Many years have passed since I have sung that little song in Sunday school. Oh, I probably don’t have the lyrics quite right or they have shifted over the years. Yet the concept, the message, remains the same. Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, lives in me and wants His light to shine brightly through me. The message seemed so much simpler to a 5-year-old rather than a 40-year-old. And honestly, wasn’t the world a little less dark 35 years ago?
Perhaps it was all in the perspective. Young children have a much smaller scope, frame of reference, and view of the world. Adults, by sheer math, have lived more life. Our perspectives are shaped by our experiences with the world around us and our responses and reactions to them. Maybe the world 35 years ago was equally as dark as it is now, and I was merely shielded and protected from it then. But I don’t think so. Over the last decade, it seems like darkness hovers a bit nearer. In the last 12-18 months, it has amplified. The world is growing darker and more sinful. Evil has felt more present and ever lurking in the shadows…emerging from the shadows really.
While I was running the other day, I was pondering the evil in the world and realized that it should not be a surprise to believers. Paul warned Timothy of this exact thing in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Here are a few words he used to describe people in the last days: “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive…ungrateful, unholy, heartless…slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Jesus also told His disciples of signs of the end of the age in Matthew 24:3-14. In verse 12, He specifically told them, “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” How familiar does this sound! It appears very much like the world in which I awaken daily.
You may be thinking, “Yes, but what does this mean for me, as a follower of Christ?” Great question, and our response is found in that old Sunday school song. This little light of mine/I’m going to let it shine. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus calls His followers “the light of the world.” We are to let our lights shine before others because our shining light is from His Holy Spirit within us. This light points people to God, and we give Him the glory. In Daniel 12:3, we learn that we shine like bright stars in the sky when we share the Gospel and people come to know and accept Christ as Savior.
In our current climate and culture, we can be tempted to hide our lights under a bushel, to allow our lights to be less like stars and more like fireflies, flashing on and off, growing dimmer as morning approaches. Just like the little Sunday school song says, “Hide it under a bushel–NO!” When we are most tempted to hide it and to dim it, that is exactly when we need to shine the brightest.
It seems like lately it is really easy to say the wrong thing. Most days, I just want to keep my mouth closed and my head down, avoid eye contact, and stay in my own lane. And pray really hard for the return of Christ. But…that’s not shining my light very well. Or at all. Not only does the light of Jesus reside within me, but I also have a hope and a secure eternal destination. My responsibility is to share it, to shine it.
What I say is not as important as how I live. Am I living my life in such a way that people see a light, a joy, a hope, and a peace within me? Am I willing to share that hope with others? To offer them the light? People watch how we live, how we interact with others, how we respond to adversity, how we react to being wronged, and how we handle when we are wrong. Does what they see in me align with the light of Christ? Am I reflecting Him in all of those circumstances?
Once people begin to see our shining lights, they may be willing to hear what we have to say. It has been said by many and in many ways that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The same concept applies to our testimony. If the Jesus we are representing with our lives is one who is cold, bitter, unforgiving, angry, resentful, rude, selfish, or unkind, then people aren’t going to want to meet Him and know Him for themselves.
Our mission is so much greater than ourselves. The mission has never changed: Go into all the world and make disciples (see Matt. 28:19-20). Our light is our testimony. Share the gospel story. We, collectively as the capital “C” church, are the light of the world. As we fulfill our mission, the light grows brighter because each person that accepts Christ then has their light turned on. Let’s stop hiding our lights in the name of political correctness. Let’s stop hiding our lights in the name of popularity. Let’s shine brightly for Jesus. We have the beautiful gift of today each morning when we open our eyes. We can choose daily to let our lights shine before others.
Making minor concessions can be so simple in our culture. And before we know it, our lights have grown dim. Satan’s goal is to blow out our lights completely. Let’s join forces and encourage each other to shine brightly together. My name is Dawn. My name literally means, “the first appearance of daylight, daybreak.” Every time someone calls me by name, I am reminded that I am called to be light. I am literally called light. How about you? What can you use a conscious reminder to shine with the light of Jesus today?
I am praying for you, that you stand firm against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, that your faith be strong, and your light be bright.