Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
“You are the light of the world. 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."
"What Does It Mean To Shine?"
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. —Philippians 2:14-16
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is called “the true light, which gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). Throughout the New Testament, the followers of Jesus are called to be lights in the darkness.
So, what does it mean to shine?
Being counter-cultural. We live in a dark world, full of lies, hate and confusion. But God’s Word tells us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). While others are chasing after physical pleasures and selfish gain, we’re commanded to live a different way—to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).
Putting yourself out there. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16a). He explained that no one lights a lamp just to hide it under a basket. A lamp is meant to be placed on a stand to give light to everything around it. Whether you’re timid or outgoing, you’re called to be a light to the people around you. That’s only possible if you’re taking time to interact with people and cultivate relationships. Are you the shy type? Here’s some guidance.
Always pointing back to the light source. When Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others,” that wasn’t the whole sentence. He went on to give the reason why it’s important to shine: “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16b). Our goal should never be to bring recognition to ourselves, but to bring glory to God. There’s a fine line between being a light and putting on a show to get attention. It’s a matter of the heart.
What keeps you from shining?
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice
the log that is in your own eye? –Matthew 7:3
It’s easy to see the shine of a new diamond ring from across the room. But over time, that shine can dull as dust collects on it.
In the same way, sin can dull our shine as lights for Jesus Christ. Our lives which once sparkled with the joy of Christ can become clouded with a love for things of this world.
Before you can be a light to others, take a look at your own life. Has sin dulled the evidence of Christ in you? Maybe it’s time to stop, take a moment and ask God to reveal any sins you might be ignoring. If there’s a sin you repeatedly struggle with, write it down and pray over it continually.
Ask God for His forgiveness and help in changing your heart. We’ll never be perfect, but we need to address our sin—partly because it impacts others.
So how exactly do you shine?
Do not be conformed to this world … —Romans 12:2a
“Being a light” sounds great, doesn’t it? But it’s also a little abstract. How exactly do you become this brilliant beacon to people around you?
Here are 4 practical tips:
1. Be careful what you say. The Bible calls the tongue “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Yikes! That’s pretty serious. And that’s how we should take our speech—seriously. Maybe a parent once told you, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s not bad advice, even as an adult. Words are powerful and can be used for good or bad. You might even post this verse somewhere as a reminder: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Read How to Tame the Tongue.
2. Consider your entertainment. Where do you go for fun? What shows or movies do you watch? What kind of music do you listen to? Would you go to the same places, watch the same things or listen to the same music if Jesus were sitting next to you? Or would you be embarrassed? It might sound silly, but asking those questions is a good way to keep yourself in check, whether you’re alone or with others.
3. Use social media wisely. People are watching what you post, whether they interact with your posts or not. Think about the things you’ve posted recently—articles, comments, photos and so on. Could they be seen as prideful? Self-centered? Rude? What’s your motive? To put others down or make them jealous? Hopefully not. Aim to make informed, respectful posts that represent the One you claim as Lord.
4. Think of others. Consider other people’s needs and help meet them. Encourage instead of criticize. Be patient. Give others the benefit of the doubt. If you hear gossip, distance yourself from it or change the subject. When you encounter a difficult person, remember that they were made and are loved by God. Above all, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31).
Founded by Billy Graham in 1950, BGEA exists to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ by every effective means and to equip the church and others to do the same. Continuing the lifelong work of Billy Graham, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association exists to support and extend the evangelistic calling and ministry of Franklin Graham by proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all we can by every effective means available to us and by equipping the church and others to do the same.
REFLECT & RESPOND Children's Edition
1. Watch “This Little Light of Mine” by Listener Kids on youtube.com – here’s the link.
2. Have a dance party – and get little children moving. Older children can join in or lead the fun.
3. Do something special with a child in your life – color with them, play a game or legos or blocks, throw the ball, watch a movie, read them a story, and share with them as special and wonderful truth about them as a unique child of God.
Make this day about little children and shine your light brightly for them.
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
"Being a Light"
by Taraea L. Griffith
Father your word says I am the salt of the earth and if I lose my saltiness how can it be salty again?
Am I no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men?
No, you were a guard in me and I am in you and Enzo - being I am the light in the world as you are the light of this world.
I am a city on a hill.
I cannot be hidden.
I stand out so that your glory is revealed continually.
I am a light bearer so that everyone in my house can give light in the same way. I will let my light shine before men that they may see your good and your good deeds and praise your name Father God in heaven.
Because I am a follower of Jesus Christ I will never walk in darkness because I have the light of life. Your word clears me to wake up or sleep or rise from idol sleep. Christ will shine on me.
It is light that makes everything visible. For this very reason I never stop praying and asking you God to fill me with the knowledge of your wisdom.
Through all spiritual wisdom and understanding I live a life worthy of you Lord God and praise you in every way. I am bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power according to your glorious might.
This is so I may have great endurance and patience and joyfully give thanks to you father who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
In the Mighty name of Jesus,
Sources: Matthew 5:13, John 14:20, Matthew 5:14-16, John 8:12, Ephesians 5:14, Colossians 1:9-12
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world