‘Being’ the Lights
by Pastor Gene
“God is light” (1 John 1:5).
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:4-9).
Think about light again.
God is light and, in Jesus, the true light, which gives light to everyone, came into the world. “And,” John wrote, “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus made it clear: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).
Disciples, the following ones, are people who walk through a dark world, but are never in darkness. We know the Light. He shines upon us. He illumines our path. And He fellowships with us in the light – “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7a).
Jesus is the Light. God is light. Jesus is God. “With you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
And with Jesus will come the dawn of a new era in which righteousness will fill the earth! “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2). The “sun of righteousness” is the dawning of the new day in which the Righteous One will reign.
Jesus. The Light. The Morning Star. The One who will bring the healing rays of “the sun of righteousness” to bathe the earth in its golden light! As C. A. Blaising writes, “In the kingdom, righteousness will pervade like the sun!”
Were that all there was to it, it would be enough to contemplate for a thousand eternities. But that’s not all there is to it!
Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I’m reminded: I’ve never seen it all!
Just when I think I’ve finally got a handle on this Jesus-is-the-light-of-the-world thing, He pulls the rug out from under my feet and I wind up on my nose!
When I finally accept that He – Jesus – is the light of the world, He smiles and says, “YOU are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14a).
Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus and called them “light in the Lord.” He did not say that they have the light of the Lord, but that they ARE light in the Lord.
What does this mean? It means that God’s people are the rays that He uses to cover the unbelieving world in His golden light. ‘Seeing’ the light is one thing; ‘being’ the light is something else again. ‘Being’ God’s light means that our primary spiritual occupation is to shine.
We are the shiners, the phosphorescent ones. We belong to the day and not to the night. We get out of bed each day determined to get to work shining!
To shirk our responsibility as a shiner is a terrible thing! “You are the light of the world,” Jesus said. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. 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 5:14-16).
Notice that the light they “see” is our “good works” – not just what we say, but what we do.
We shine our light by embracing what Paul called the “fruit of light” and by having nothing to do with the “unfruitful works of darkness.”
It’s purity in the life of a Christian that causes his or her light to shine clean and strong.
“For at one time,” Paul says, “you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-13).
It’s for this reason that Paul warns Christians to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Why? So that “you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15).
Allowing any darkness into our lives will most assuredly dim the light that God’s called us to shine. Just as Israel was to be “a light for the nations that [God’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth,” so believers today are to be light-bearers.
This is our job, Church. And we need to be careful too! For if we fail to be a shiner, God may give us one!
To Consider …
- Put yourself in the story. You’re sitting and listening to Jesus speak. And then, all at once, He turns to face you and says, “YOU are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14a).
What do you do with that?
What do these words of Jesus mean to you personally? Specifically, not generally.
- Do you agree that “God’s people are the rays that He uses to cover the unbelieving world in His golden light”?
How has God used you in the past month to shine His light? Six months?
- Are you intentional about being a light for Jesus, one of the phosphorescent ones?
Do you consider that this is your job as a follower of Jesus?
Do you get out of bed each day determined to get to work shining!
- Consider Ephesians 5:8-14 carefully.
Does Paul’s admonition to embrace the “fruit of light” speak to you? What does it say?
Paul uses the light/darkness motif in two ways in this passage:
1. To describe our new identity in Christ: “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”
2. To describe our new walk in Christ: “Walk as children of light.”
What do you think it means to “walk as children of light”?
Paul also contrasts what he calls “the fruit of light” with the “unfruitful works of darkness.”
The “the fruit of light,” he says, is “is found in all that is good and right and true.”
What are some of these fruits you can identify in your own life?
As for the “unfruitful works of darkness,” he warns us to “take no part in “them, but rather, “expose them”.
What do you think exposing them means?
Are any of these “works of darkness” present in your life?
What makes them “unfruitful”? (Hint: Consider the context of shining as lights).
- How are you doing as a shiner?
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