Matthew 5:14 – “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.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 & 16 that we believers are the lights of the world. We are not THE light as He is, but we are smaller lights. He also told us to let our lights shine before men that they could see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. So we Christians are clearly told what is our purpose as world lights. We are to shine brightly to get the attention of people so that we may direct their ultimate attention to the glorious God that we serve.
But what happens when the attention that we receive for our good works never gets redirected to God? Remember, Jesus said that our light is to bring attention to our good works, BUT that that attention should reflect what a mighty God it is that we Christians serve. But because there are lights in the world that do not understand Jesus direction, God is not getting all the glory and honor that He deserves and that He is due.
I went to a gospel rap concert this Friday that blessed me so much. One of the first things I noticed when I walked in was the poor stage lighting. I remarked to the friend I came with the lighting was so bad that I could not even see the rapper who was on stage. Little did I know, it was likely a God-ordained lighting problem that drove home a point that the second rapper delivered to the crowd. The second rapper’s name was Andy Mineo (f/k/a C-Lite). In between songs, Andy would minister. And one of the things he touched on was the lighting (which by that time had been fixed). He asked, “Have any of you noticed the lights?” He pointed our attention to the stage lights above that shined down on him. All of the crowd looked up at the lights to see what on earth he was talking about. He asked us if we had noticed the lights and of course none of us did because were so enmeshed in his rapping and ministering. He continued on to say, “Exactly. The purpose of the lights are not to draw attention to themselves, but to put the attention on whoever is on stage. No one in the audience was watching the lights. We were watching what the light was directed at. POWERFUL!
Ephesians 5:8 – for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 – (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 – and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 – For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 – But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 – for anything that becomes visible is light.
See, the only time I paid attention to the lights was when they were NOT doing their job. When I first entered the concert, I only noticed the lighting because it was not bright enough or because it was not on or because it was not directed at the rapper on stage. I was annoyed by it because I know what lights are for. Lights are to ILLUMINATE, expose, make manifest, make visible the person it is shining on. But when a light is not shining, it is as worthless is salt that is not salty. If a light bulb is blown and if a candle wick will not catch on fire, then it is good for nothing. Are you a dead light bulb or a incompetent candle? What good is a sun that doesn’t shine or a moon that doesn’t reflect light?
Do you get mad when people don’t praise you for your good works? Do you get mad when the church doesn’t acknowledge or thank you? Do you not understand that God will never thank you? He will reward you in heaven, but He will never thank you for doing your job as a light. Lights shine. It comes natural. The only time you SHOULD be acknowledged regarding your light is when you are NOT doing your job. And by acknowledgement, I mean the only time you should be addressed is when you are being negatively addressed by being replaced for NOT shining.
John 1:4 – In him was life, and the life was the light of men…9 – The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
We have to understand what Jesus has done for us and what He has made us for. Jesus is that Original Light. The light with the capital “L”. And just as we do with physical candles, Jesus enlightened our candle wick with his flame. And so we become lights. And Jesus told us to use our lights to glorify God. The problem arises when people use their light to glorify themselves OR when they refuse to let their light shine.
Let me give you two examples that I’ve seen that people do with their lights. Last Tuesday, I visited a church. It was a charismatic, Pentecostal church, so praise and worship is very lively and active. But after everyone had settled down to hear the Word preached, a man in the choir stand continued to praise. And we were all fine with that because that happens in charismatic churches. But then the man continued and began to be disruptive. And it was apparent to every discerning person that this man was just acting out for attention. He wanted to impress people with his praise because he thought it made him seem holier and really connected to or appreciative of God. But it just made him look pathetic and made people want to laugh at him because he was trying to hard. Even though Jesus called this man to be a light to glorify God, this man clearly was using praise as a platform to bring glory to himself. No one looked at this man and thought, “Man! I want to serve the God he’s serving! He must be an awesome God to be praising God like that!” Something tells me that this man would not praise God like that in the privacy of his car or home because he wouldn’t have an audience to impress in he did. This man was a light alright. He was a high beam in your eye that was so glaring you wanted to look away.
But there is another type of light that I dislike. And that is the dim or dead light. I’ve observed people in church who simply REFUSE to let their light shine. They say things like, “It don’t take all that. Y’all doing too much. I ain’t gotta stand up and praise Him. He know my heart. He know how I feel about Him.” So they just sit there with their arms crossed with a frown on their face waiting for praise and worship to be over. If an atheist, Satanist, or Muslim were to watch them, they’d certainly be thinking, “See, I knew all this Christianity stuff was fake. God is so un-awesome that this so-called Christian over here won’t even stand up or clap at all. She’s not said ONE positive thing about the God she serves. He must not be all that after all.” These types of lights need to be replaced or thrown out. You look at them and don’t see ANYTHING glorious about the God they claim to serve.
Of course, Matthew 5:14-16 was talking about good works (not praise and worship), but I think the point still applies. Whatever you do should be done to the glory of God. And I believe that includes praise and worship. When people see me, I want to have JUST the right amount of light shining. And I want ALL of the light to be shining on the TRUE showstopper – THE Headliner on stage. And that main attraction is the Lord. No one sits there in admiration at stage lights. Everyone with common sense knows that they came to see what’s or who’s on stage. Sure lighting can be pretty, but it should not steal the show. Light is to make manifest or visible what counts. The sun is not shining just to be shining. God put the sun up there for other reasons. One of those reasons is to allow humans to see every thing that the sunlight is shining upon. So examine yourselves. Readjust your lighting. Make sure that you are not an attention-seeking light nor a dead light. Let God be glorified in all that you do!