by Joseph Duerr, Ph.D.
Matthew 5:16 (ESV) “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.”
In this verse our Lord has commanded us to be examples to a world filled with darkness and hopelessness. We are the lamps and the light we emit represents our good works, which must be done solely for the purpose of glorifying our Father in heaven. The life we lead as Christians should be visible and obvious, not secret or hidden, and should represent a life not conformed to the world, but separate, or holy (Romans 12:1-2).
We must not camouflage our devotion to Christ, but humbly do all we can to allow its truest colors to be seen where we live.
This is not a contradiction to what Jesus commands in 6:1–6, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them.” In one case attention is drawn to God; in the other, it is drawn to self. It is the Christian’s commission to live in such a way as to make God visible in a world that is blind to him. Remember, the result needs to be the enhancement of God’s reputation in the world, not the aggrandizement of the lamp.
As we enter worship today, let us pray for the lost and unchurched and that God may put us in the path of those who need to hear the Gospel.
“There is no darkness where Jesus is. Let us ask ourselves, let each one ask: “Am I a light in my family, among my companions?” The Word said, “Ye are the light of the world.” Are you, brethren? Just consider over it. Let us keep our loins girded and our lamps burning, or people will stumble over us. Oh, my friends, if the light in us be darkness, how great is that darkness. If we would light the world up, we must borrow the light; we must take no glory to ourselves, but merely reflect the light of Jesus Christ. The Bible does not say, “Make your light shine before men,” but “Let your light shine.” Let it shine. God supplies us with it for the asking. Oh, my friends, will you not ask for it? and when you once have it, hundreds of thousands of others will see it and want it as well.”
Moody, D. L. (1877). New Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers (pp. 272–273). Cincinnati, OH: Henry S. Goodspeed & Co.