Can They See Us?
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, "...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." In the previous verses, Jesus has talked about a city on a hill being unable to hide, and that people trying to light their homes at night didn't put their candle or lamp under a bowl, but on a stand, so it would radiate throughout the house.
Let's take vs 14 for a second. "A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." We should have light (zeal for God, good deeds, love, whatever you want to put into the definition of spiritual light) in us to the point we cannot hide it, people will have to see 'IT' when they see us. Christ has just talked to His listeners about the things we are blessed with, and that we are to be the 'salt of the earth', ie, the good people. These proper Christian attributes should be radiating from us like light, and people should see them, not for our glory, but because God deserves the glory for what Christ has done for us, and for His love that spills over into and out of us to others. Our good deeds should be noticed, which means we must have some, right?
So how great is our light? How are we doing in the good deed department that our friends, neighbors and even perfect strangers should witness us doing so that they can give glory to God? A few verses later, as Jesus is still teaching His audience, He says, "...If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!?" What are you talking about Jesus?
Up to this point in Jesus’ lesson, He's talked about a state of joy that come from blessings one receives for a pursuit of righteousness. He's talked about the law (of Moses) and that His teachings would not abolish the spirit of that law, but rather fulfill it (the law of Christ). He's said to love and not murder, to settle matters of disagreement. He's told us to not commit adultery literally, or in our hearts. He's talked about the perils of divorce, about keeping our oaths and not swearing on our oaths. He's talked about forgiveness and not retribution, in fact, being considerate to our enemies, by loving and serving them.
Jesus has talked about giving to the needy, and not doing it for our own glory. He's talked about praying and how to pray, giving us an example, and that our prayers are not to be for our own exaltation. Christ then talks about fasting, to focus on our lives and petitions toward God. Jesus says what's important to us should be storing up treasures in heaven, not earthly things that fade, rust and decay. Jesus then addresses what we mentioned above, our light shining in the darkness, for others to see and praise God for.
Jesus has spent two chapters in this great lesson we call the 'Sermon on the Mount', and He still has a chapter to go talking about worry, judging and seeking God, walking the straight and narrow, avoiding false prophets, and building on a solid spiritual foundation in order to be true disciples.
So when He tells us to let our light shine, these are some of the things we should be doing, and conversely, avoiding the ones He says avoid. God wants people to see us pursuing a life of righteousness, avoiding evil things, and building on Christ as our foundation, our center of all things. We are not to be arrogant, but we are not to hide everything from the world either, because when we live like this, we teach those who are watching, and even if they don't fully understand, they see us being genuinely good and they know we are not like the world around us. In doing this, we show God's love to each other as Christians, we put His goodness on display to the world, and God gets the credit and glory for that.
Is your light shining today, if not, Jesus asks, "how much darkness is in you?" 5:23. In 5:24, He says what causes darkness, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other..." If money, materialism, or any other earthly things is about to snuff your lamp out, don't let it win. If you are struggling to choose between God and this world, God can help, and we are willing to assist you in any way possible today. Just let us know how! 325-573-0154