Light of the World: Day Seventeen
Let Your Light Shine
A few nights ago my family and I were driving around town in search of Christmas lights. As we drove from neighborhood to neighborhood, something caught my eye. Off in the distance, at the top of the hill was a giant cross completely lit up. It was a beautiful sight to see that cross shining in the night sky over our city. Like we saw yesterday, it was the perfect reminder of what Christmas is really all about: not just baby Jesus in a manger but what Jesus ultimately accomplished in securing salvation for those who would believe in him.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus gave a sermon known today as, “The Sermon on the Mount.” In it, he famously referred to his disciples as salt and light. Let’s consider why Jesus would use these two nouns to describe his followers. First, what is the purpose of salt? Salt has a 2-fold benefit: salt both gives flavor and prevents deterioration. Faithful disciples of Jesus will have this same effect in their own corners of the globe. They will make the world a more palatable place by their good words and, as they work to restrain evil in the world it will have a preserving effect on the earth. However, the ineffective disciple is one who has lost their flavoring and is therefore, not making an impact on their sphere of influence.
Remarkably, Jesus also said his followers are the light of the world. This is the same thing he said about himself in John 8:12. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven, the reality of this statement became even more clear. In the absence of Jesus on earth, it is his disciples that will shine HIS light into the darkness.
Jesus clarifies that the specific way his followers shine, is by their good works. As Christians live lives of obedience to Jesus, their good works in the light set them apart from those who walk in the darkness. As always, it is super important to clarify that a Christian doesn’t do good in order to earn a place in God’s family, but rather, a Christian does good works as a result of being in God’s family.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Jesus saved us that we would walk in the good works he prepared for us. This is why the result of our good works should not bring glory to ourselves but rather to our heavenly Father (v. 16). The light that we shine into the world is merely a reflection of Jesus’ light. Just as the moon doesn’t possess light of its own but is rather the light of the sun bouncing off the surface of the moon, so too do Jesus’ disciples reflect his light into the world as we accomplish the good works he has prepared for us.
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,
Action Point: Stop and ask God to show you the good works he has prepared for you today. Ask him for the wisdom and resolve to be obedient to every good work you see available today.