The darkness of our world has been incredibly apparent over the past year. If the world ever needed light, it’s now, but what does it mean to ‘let your light shine?’ As Christians, we have the light of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. His light can help us shine in our hurting world.
How can we shine our light in the world today?
What Does 'Let Your Light Shine' Mean?
What is God’s light? It’s the unexplainable way we can receive hope over despair, peace over chaos, and joy over sorrow. According to the biblestudytools.com article “How Can We ‘Let Our Light Shine’?” God’s peace is also the gratitude we feel for Christ’s sacrifice and salvation fosters positivity within us. God’s light goes beyond our fleshly emotions and actions. When we accept Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. His power becomes our power. His light becomes our light. John writes about God and the beginning of time. In John 1:4-5, he writes, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” God is light. Therefore, when we invite Christ into our lives, we secure his radiance.
Christ’s glow cultivates a field of luminescence that shines throughout our whole body, projecting like a lighthouse into a broken and hurting world. This powerful indistinguishable light of God can illuminate even the darkest places and bring hope to the desolate and downtrodden.
The phrase ‘Let Your Light Shine’ implies that we have a choice. We can shine the light of Christ or not. We can have the luminous Holy Spirit living inside of us, but not utilize the power of Christ to use it. We can cover God’s light, keeping the glow hidden from ourselves as well as others. Instead, we need to release God’s splendor and bring it to our broken and hurting world.
What Is the Context of Matthew 5:16?
Matthew 5: 14-16: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Like a town on a hill, Christ’s power can rise above our own and that of the world. When we harness this power and let our light shine, others see our bright beacon. One way our light shines is through the fruit we produce. When we show love, kindness, and goodness, it’s a reflection of God. Our good deeds that were fostered by our love of Christ can lead others to him.
Let’s take a look at what Matthew Henry has to say: “The churches are the candlesticks, the golden candlesticks, in which these lights are placed, that they light may be diffused; and the gospel is so strong a light, and carries with it so much of its own evidence, that, like a city on a hill, it cannot be hid, it cannot but appear to be from God to all those who do not wilfully shut their eyes against it. It will give light to all that are in the house, to all that will draw near to it, and come where it is.”
Churches also spread God’s light by sharing his truth and love. The good coming from the church and its people can point others to Christ, as their attitudes and actions can’t be explained by anything else. People have a choice to acknowledge God and His light or turn against it. Those who choose to accept God’s gift will also receive the light.
What Does the Bible Say about Light?
The Bible confirms that we have access to God’s light as Christians. While Jesus walked on this earth, he was the human essence of light. When he departed, he left his followers with the Holy Spirit allowing us to receive his light. The Bible is also a source of his light, giving Christians life-breathing words filled with God’s promises.
Let’s see what scripture says about light.
2 Corinthians 4:6: “ For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
John 9:5: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Psalm 119:130: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
Luke 12:2-3: “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”
4 Ways Christians Can Let Their Light Shine Today
Let’s examine four ways that you can let your light shine, starting today.
Examine Your Heart
It cannot be light and dark in the same place. A lantern breaks through the darkness. Examine your heart for any hindering secrets or shame. Wisely share your hurts and struggles with God or a trusted confidant. When our burdens are brought to the light, they can’t hide anymore. The darkness flees, allowing us to be who we are and show that reality to others.
According to the article “10 Ways to Shine Bright for Christ” on ibelieve.com, authenticity is a way to shine for Christ. We’ve all gone through trials. The façade of perfection can diminish the impact of our light since it’s easy to see the rays when the sun is already out. Our light shines bright when we wisely share our struggles with others, showing it’s possible to have hope amongst sorrow and hardship.
As mentioned on biblestudytools.com, one way to let your light shine is to be an encouragement to the world. The article suggests reaching out to friends and family with a positive text or phone call. Slip a card in the mail or use your social media influence as a beacon of hope. Really listen to others. One way to encourage is to simply be there for one another and show we care.
Read the Word
The article on ibelieve.com goes on to say that Christians can shine brightly by reading the Word. The Bible is the handbook for our lives. Everything in the Word is true. To embrace these truths, we first need to know what they are. When we read the Bible, we can immerse ourselves in God’s rich words and illuminate them to others. God has given us an incredible gift in his light. We are not meant to hide or hoard this gift. His luminesce can glow within us and then shine out into the world. When we show up as our authentic selves, we demonstrate to the world that light is possible in the darkness. We can ingest God’s truth through his words and then share his brightness to encourage others.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/happyphoton
Jenna Brooke Carlson is an elementary dual language teacher in the Chicago suburbs. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers, she enjoys spending time with other writers and perfecting her craft. She recently signed a contract for her first young adult novel, A Big Hot Mess, with Elk Lake Publishing. Along with writing, she’s pursuing her dreams of creating a community of brave young women, who she can encourage to live out their dreams amid challenges and imperfection. Her days are busy, but she’s determined she can conquer anything with a fuzzy blanket and a hot cup of tea. To find out more about Jenna, visit her website at jennabrookecarlson.com.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.