In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 GW)
Have you heard of the “golden hour” of photography? Our friend, Ashley, tells us that sunset and sometimes sunrise are optimal times of day to take photos. The light, she explains, is soft and even, which prevents the casting of shadows on a person or subject. The background of the photo also is filled with a soft glow that highlights the subject even more.
Oftentimes it is easy to detect a Christian in his or her “golden hour.” The time he or she has spent with Jesus, in prayer and through His word, and the experiences of Jesus proving Himself true through the person’s life events, causes him or her to glow with deep faith and trust in the love and grace of Christ. And their affect not only casts its light on other Christians, but it also radiates to people who don’t follow Jesus, stirring them to seek a deeper understanding. And that, friend, is Matthew 5:16 in action. But we must be careful to understand what this shining light is and what it is not.
When Jesus described a light shining before men during His Sermon on the Mount, he wasn’t describing a manufactured, surface-level happiness. He also wasn’t advocating good deeds for the sake of good deeds. The light that emanates from deep within a Christ follower’s soul is a reflection of Christ Himself. And it comes to us by way of the Holy Spirit when we put our hope and trust in Jesus. This understanding becomes evident to us as the “light” inside you, as the light of thankfulness that Jesus saved you and that you have hope in God to face whatever the day may bring.
The Message Bible elaborates even more on the verse and what is asked of us: “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Friend, do you have that inner glow? Do you sparkle with deep trust in and love for Christ? If so, keep shining! If not, why not meditate on this verse this week, letting it root in the depths of your heart. Pray it back to God in faithfulness! As His truth becomes your truth, the results will be glowing!
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” – 1 John 4:9-12
— Sue and Linda © February 2022