“Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.” -Jesus
The image above is a tabletop sculpture by Israeli artist Liat Livni. It is a model for a larger scale piece that she plans to build in the near future. This meticulous artwork is made up of 330 hand-cut layers of veneer that form the figure of the artist. At the top of the body, there is a flashing light similar to that of a real lighthouse. This inspiring piece reminded me of these powerful words, “You are the light of the world.” “Let your light shine.” and, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles.” As spiritual lighthouses, we should readily recognize who said them. They belong to Him who is the Light of salvation, the One who spoke light itself into existence; our Savior Jesus Christ. But what exactly did Jesus mean when He said that we are to be a light?
I do not have or ever had any tattoos on my body. I never wanted one to be honest. Besides, I have my reservations about the safety of inking one’s skin. However, I don’t criticize or judge those who do. In fact, I have seen and admired some pretty amazing tattoos, especially of lighthouses!
As much as these permanent beacons can attract people with their “light,” I’m pretty sure that is not what Jesus meant when He said we were to let our light shine. Mainly because as a Jew, He would have followed the law which prohibited Israel from putting any printed markings upon their skin (Leviticus 19:28).
My family has never celebrated Halloween either. Even though it has been modernized, its customs still celebrate false beliefs about the dead and spirit beings. For that reason, my personal conviction has been to not take part of this seemingly “safe” celebration. But again, I do not criticize or judge those who do. In fact, I am also fascinated by the creativity in some of the costumes fashioned on that day, especially if they are of lighthouses!
Walking around in one of these would also appear to be an effective way to “shine,” especially during the “dark” nights of October 31st. But, I am also convinced that this was not what Jesus meant when he said that we are to be the light of the world. Mainly because as God himself, He would have denounced any form of celebration that glamorized the spirit world even if it involved wearing cute little costumes (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
And how about wearing a string light suit for work? Or holding a self-lighting bulb when shopping? Or how about using a headband light at school? Couldn’t we use these to be a light for Jesus?
Well we could, but again I am certain that Jesus was not referring to this form of illumination either. He was quite clear in stating that such a light must be found within us, “Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” And we all know that that doesn’t mean a literal internal glow. After all, we were not created with the bioluminescent capabilities of the firefly or the glowing jellyfish.
To better understand what Jesus meant by saying that we are to be a light, we must first understand the purpose and effects of light. Light reveals objects that would otherwise be hidden or undisclosed. It allows our eyes to perceive their shape and form so that our brains can interpret the image and help us recognize its worth, whether good or bad. It also allows us to physically move with a sense of direction and with caution if needed. In short, light drives away darkness. Likewise, the light that Jesus refers to is a light that reveals the hidden and undisclosed plans of our enemy, the devil, to destroy us. It allows us to recognize (discern) that which is of God and what isn’t. It also guides us through the path of life and warns of spiritual dangers. Then, we must also realize that this light is supernatural (Read, His Light is Our Light). It represents Christ’s righteousness, holiness, and eternal grace operating in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. By having the light of Christ in us we can reflect it back into the world. So, to be a light means that…
- Our thoughts and our words are seasoned with grace so that we can bless those around us, especially those who curse us.
- We are able to see beyond the faults and weaknesses of others, including our enemies, and love them just as Christ loves us.
- We can perform good works out of a genuine compassion for people and in gratitude to Him who has been more than compassionate with us.
- We strive to live holy (separated) lives in an unrestrained immoral world.
- We can stand firm when facing temptation and other adversities.
- We are empowered to share the Good news of God’s salvation (the Gospel) with boldness and assurance so that others may also see His light.
Above all else, it means that we are part of His kingdom and therefore partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4). This enables us to overcome sin and live a life of true peace, love and joy with Him, ourselves, and others. Remember, this light is not of this world and nothing or no one on earth can provide it. It belongs to and comes from the Almighty Creator who deposits it in the hearts and minds of those who come to Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Considering what being a light is all about, are you a light? If not, would you like to become a lighthouse for God? If so, I invite you to Follow this link and allow His light into your heart today.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I can’t imagine that you would allow me to carry your eternal light within me. The light that not only rescued me from this dark and sinful world but also guides me to and keeps me in your very presence. You have graciously given me this light so that I may share it with others. Use me in any capacity so that I may shine brightly and draw others unto you. In your precious name I pray, amen.