Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Immediately after Jesus spoke the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, He began to speak about the disciples’ obligation to the world. The Christian life was never intended to be one of isolation and solitude, but it is to be one that is an open book for the world to see. Most of you have heard the saying, “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good,” and this is the way some approach Christianity. They think so much about heaven that they forget about their duty to their fellow man. This has led some into monasticism which isolates the Christian from the world.
This is against the teaching of the scriptures because Christians are here to influence the world. We cannot withdraw into a shell and have no contact because in that way we have no influence. But we must also be aware that if our lives are an open book, they mustn’t read like a dirty novel. We must be pure and clean. We must influence in a godly way.
Jesus used two similitudes to express this. In the first, He addressed the passive side of our lives. He said we must be like salt. As salt preserves, so Christians retard corruption by living holy lives. But then He followed with the active side. We must be light. We must shine out, reach out, speak out the gospel and turn hearts to the Lord. The passive side is sometimes called “relationship evangelism” while the active side is termed “confrontational evangelism.” Both are needed if we are to make a difference in our world.
When Jesus was on earth, He said, “I am the light of the world.” He is the one that illuminates the darkness of the soul and turns spiritual blackness into the light of salvation. But He also said in Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world.” He is the light source and we are light reflectors. Some use the relationship between the sun and the moon as a way to explain this. The moon is not a light source, but it shines because it reflects the sun’s rays.
How well do you reflect the Son of God? Have you pulled a curtain across your life so that no one sees Christ in you? Sin veils the majesty of Christ. Let your light shine through a life of good works. The best you can do for anyone is to give them the light and life of the gospel.
Pastor V. Mark Smith