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Jan 16

Walking in the Words of the Master – Part 2 “You are the Light of the World”

Part 2 of my goal to find out what the Words of Jesus are, what they mean and how I can apply them to my life.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14 -16

When I was a Senior in high school back in 1973 the church youth decided we wanted to have a singing group and travel around giving concerts and ministering to people.  You know be “evangelists” like so many other youth groups were doing in those days, during the “Jesus People” explosion.  So we bought material and sewed dresses and the guys got white pants, ties and shirts that matched the girls dresses.  We had a piano player, a base player, a tambourine, and a sound system we rehearsed our songs and were set to go.  But we needed a name.

One Sunday night during the evening service the preacher (who happened to be my dad) was preaching from John 8:12.  “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” And so the “Light of Life Singers” were born.
                                                   Light of Life Singers – June 1973
                                                    Open Bible Church Custer, SD
We even wrote our own theme song I can still remember it. “Jesus is the Light and He will give you life.”  We planned our tour, wrote to churches and asked them if we could come minister to their congregation and maybe even get a few souls saved with our singing and sharing of the Gospel.  So in the summer of 1973 off we went, we toured in South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and even sang in a “Methodist” church in Kansas.  We had a great time, singing and staying in peoples homes, meeting new people and sharing the gospel.  We were being the “Light of the World”.
Looking back on all of that now I don’t know if anybody ever got saved as a result of those concerts because I don’t think there were ever any “unsaved” people who came to them.  Like most groups that go to churches to sing we were singing to other believers.  And I’m not saying that was a bad thing, it was a very good thing.  It gave the youth group something fun to do to delay our summer jobs at motels and restaurants back in the tourist town we lived in.  It taught us lessons about getting along with crabby people on road trips.  And I’m sure we were an encouragement to the folks we sang to. They didn’t have anything better to do on a hot summer night than to go listen to a bunch of teenagers sing their hearts out.  We sang songs like “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” and “Pass It On” shared our testimonies and the Word.  We prayed with people, visited and did our best to be good ambassadors for the Lord.  It was a positive experience for all of us and something I will always cherish.
But is that what Jesus meant when He told us that we ARE “The Light of the World?”  I think that sometimes we try so hard to BE the light of the world that we forget that we ARE the light of the world.
What is light anyway? – one definition is that light is the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.  Without light we are all blind.
Light makes the dark disappear.  When you go into a room and flip the light switch as soon as the light appears the dark is instantly gone.  Light calms fear, when a child cries in the night and you turn on the light the fear leaves.  Light causes plants to photosynthesize and produce the nutrients they need to grow and produce fruit. The light of the sun brings vitamin D to our skin to give us the nutrients we need for our bodies to function properly
Another definition of light is that light is understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.  As in the “light bulb turned on”  and I understood what you were talking about.
Jesus is the Light, He told us that in John.  Jesus came to shine light in a dark world, the Light and gives Life. He came that we might have life and that we might have it abundantly.  His light brings sight to the blind.  The presence of that Light in the world changes the world, its goal is to abolish slavery, hatred, greed and war. The Light is to bring the nutrients to the world that it needs to produce the fruit of love and grace and peace.  Jesus took it a step further and told us that we “ARE” also the light of the world.  We are not to BE the light of the world we ARE the light of the world.
We are the light becasue we have the Holy Spirit in us.  We don’t have to do anything in particular to let that light shine except not to hide it.  The light is there and it will shine if we don’t hide it.  I wonder what are some ways that we hide our light?  Materialism, thinking and talking like the world, being self centered, hating, being greedy or unkind.   When we have a chance to speak peace or love or joy, do we speak hate, fear, jealousy, envy or unforgiveness?
Have you ever heard someone describe another person with something like, “when she/he comes into the room the whole place lights up?”  I want to be that person who lights up the room with the light that I am becasue I am the Light of the World.

Vs 16 says “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.”
In ways that we can wrap our brains around and get our hands dirty what does it mean to let our lights shine?  Does it mean to preach to those around us or does it mean something else.  I think we have become entirely too centered on eternal rewards and forgotten that most of what Jesus taught is to be applied in this life.  It is the mission of believers as the salt and light to render this world a better place right here! Right now!
Our light shining should bring forth good works, as light brings forth life in plants and produces fruit  the light in us should produce good works.  Jesus said that what we did to the least of these we did to Him.  A drink of water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothes to unclothed, visits to prisoners are the good works the light of the Lord produces.  When the light in us shines out in tangible ways then glory will go to the Father.  We can’t hide that light with selfishness we have to let it shine.
How many times have we  heard the criticism of believers that they are hypocrites and don’t practice what they preach.  I think that the real problem lies in misunderstanding what Jesus was preaching.  He told us to let our lights shine before men so they will see the good works and as a result glory will go to the Father.  Yes we are to preach the gospel but in order for the preaching to have any effect at all it must be accompanied by love.  The true light of the gospel is living a life of love, compassion, sharing, and giving.    All of the nice Christian concerts, worship services and programs at the “church building” are for the edification and yes entertainment of believers and that is fine.  But let’s not confuse all the “Christian” activities with the true preaching of the gospel in the tangible way that letting your light shine demands.  The world needs the light to shine in order to bring about the change that Christianity was intended to bring.
As with salt we need to realize that we are light and not hide that light.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to show me, and any of you out there who are interested in letting your light shine, ways that we put our light under a basket.  Attitudes or actions that cause the light to flicker and not be that beacon on the hill or the lighthouse on the coast.  Ways that that light in us can produce those good works to bring glory to Abba!
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, this little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

Grace and Peace
Anita

 

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