“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in heaven”
(Matthew 5:16).What do these words mean? The dictionary defines light as “a source of illumination.” That provides the key to our definition. To be the light of the world means illuminating the darkness so that others may see reality

One of the most frightening things in the world is to be alone in the darkness. You lie in bed trying to go to sleep when suddenly you hear a creak that causes you to sit up. You strain to see through the darkness but nothing looks right. Darkness distorts reality. It is only when you turn on the light that you see things as they really are.  

Jesus is saying that people will be attracted by the beauty of your life. When you say a good word for Jesus, that is a good deed. When you stop and smile at a friend, that also is a good deed. When you forgive instead of getting even, that is a good deed. When you encourage a young person, that is a good deed. When you bake a chocolate pie and give it to a neighbor, or when you go to the hospital to see how a friend is getting along, or when you stop to help your supervisor get her car started, that too is a good deed. It is beautiful, attractive, lovely. It is evangelism backed up by a winsome personality.

Note that Jesus said, “When they see your lovely ways.” He could have said, “When they hear your great preacher, or when they sit in your lovely sanctuary, or when they listen to your wonderful choir, or when they read your Statement of Faith.” He could have said that but he didn’t. He simply said, “When they see the way you live." 

It is wonderfully simple. We do the shining and God gets the credit. And here’s why. Light does not call attention to itself. It provides illumination so that other things can be seen as they really are. When we drive down a lonely country road at night, the headlights show us the curves so we can safely find our way home.

A beautiful life points others to Jesus. It’s a light that cannot be put out. 

Lord Jesus, make our lives shine so that those in the darkness will find their way home to you. Amen.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.