Shine as Lights

Shine as Lights

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (Phil 2:13-15).

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)

Our exhortation for the second quarter of 2022 is one of the most familiar of all of the teachings of Christ: Let your light so shine before menPaul said Shine as lights!  Our Christian light is to shine in contrast with worldly darkness.

Christ illuminated a wicked, selfish and idolatrous world in which Godly virtues such as charity, compassion, mercy, and brotherly love were in short supply.  The contrast between Jesus and His world was striking.  It may be that this dark state of society was part of the "fullness of time" - Gal 4:4.

Our duty today is to shine as lights as Jesus did.  But there are differences between then and now. 

Despite the incredibly evil and godless things we hear about in our world, the fact is that there is a tremendous amount of good going on too.  Our “news” ignores the good for the most part, and chooses to pound the public with negativity, gutter stories and sensationalism because they believe trash sells better than virtue.  But what the news chooses to report on is not a complete picture of reality.

Unlike Jesus’ time, our society is influenced in no small way by Biblical and Christian principles. Because of the leavening effect of “Judeo-Christian Ethics” many good works are still done by individuals and organizations – even those who oppose God.  Many promote what we would agree are good works without realizing (or being willing to acknowledge) that goodness originates from God Himself (Matt 19:17).

Our challenge is to do good works,  not just so others will conclude that we are good and decent people or that our works are good, but that the light we shine causes people to glorify God because of it (Matt 5:16).  How do we shine as lights in a society where light already shines in some abundance?

The answer is we simply do as those in the New Testament did.  We include God and our faith in Jesus the Christ in our everyday words.  When we speak, individuals not only notice the lack of coarse language, the sobriety and sincerity of our mannerisms, our family values, but they hear from us that our works are to the glory of God.  We say it clearly.

If we do good without acknowledging God, aren’t we to a degree lighting a candle and “putting it under a bushel”? (Matt 5:15-16).  It doesn’t serve God’s purpose for us to simply be viewed as doers of good works.  We need to do good while giving God the glory.  There are plenty of irreligious and non-Christian people who do also do ‘good’ works.

Let us rethink what it means for me to shine as a light: both in a “crooked and perverse nation” and in decent and civil settings.  Does my behavior and my speech give God the glory? Am I confessing Him before men? (Matt 10:32).