Just a Little Light

     One of the things we found ourselves doing a number of times when our boys were young was going underground. We went to Ruby Falls and Cumberland Caverns and a big underground lake with albino fish. There was a common element to each experience. At some point the guide would shut off all the lights and show us how dark it was underground. This was accompanied by nervous cries from some of the children (not mine). After our eyes had become accustomed to complete darkness the guide would then light a candle or turn on a small flashlight. The resulting small amount of light would seem to illuminate the entire area. Many oohs and aahs were uttered.

     These experiences always reminded me of the Lord’s words in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The light of a Christian’s life is easily seen because of the relative darkness of the world. As children of God we have the responsibility to be the light Jesus would have us be.

     Just a little spiritual light shines brightly in an environment of sin, sadness and despair. It may be good to think about the last part of Matthew 5:16, the part that says by shining spiritually we “glorify our Father in heaven.” This reminds us that our light is a reflected light. We really don’t have any light of our own. By ourselves alone we cannot be sources of light. What we must do is reflect God’s light. He shines His light on us and we shine it out around us and ultimately back toward Him.

     John told us that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He went on to write that we are to “walk in the light as He is in the light.” This of course is an easily understood metaphor for living the Christian life. By living the Christian life we shine as perhaps a little but still bright light in this old dark world.

     How then do we do this? What do we do to shine? John helps us with a few simple directives in 1 John. First we admit to ourselves that we sin and need the Lord’s blood for forgiveness (1 John 1:5-9). Self-righteousness does not look good on anybody. Indeed self-righteous is just about the most foolish thing a person can be. There is no way for use to hide our faults. Once we admit this to ourselves we can shine the light of clear realism about sin for others to see. As a result we can then teach the truth that the blood of Christ washes away sin (1 John 1:7, 2:1-2).

     We also let our light shine by keeping the Lord’s commandments (1 John 2:4-8). John recorded the Lord’s words about this in John 14:15 where Jesus said, “If you love me keep My commandments.” We might understand better the cause and effect relationship described in that verse by an alternate rendering: “Since you love me, keep my commandments.” To love God is to do His will and by doing His will we shine as bright clear lights in the darkness.

     John gets specific in 1 John when he wrote, “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause of stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness” (1 John 2:10-11). Nothing turns off a Christian’s light like hate. Hate is the antithesis of faith in Christ. John also warned us that worldliness extinguishes our spiritual light (1 John 2:15-17).

John then reminded us that this world is passing away. It is therefore wise for us to do like the good old VBS song says and let our little lights shine.