Be a Light to the World: Answering Jesus’s Challenge

What is it about light shining into the darkness that lifts our spirits? Our world is dark in many ways- from the time of the year to events that are taking place. As Christians, we have always been called to be a light to the darkened world. Now is the perfect time to shine brightly in our homes, our church, and our community. Let’s dig into the topic of light and get excited about our calling to “be a light.”

I am so excited to have AnnMarie from Busy Blessed Women writing about how we are called to be a light and how to put that into practice!

Why is the dark so scary? My sister and I slept in the same room growing up, and whenever we heard a strange noise, we would “check for shoes” under our beds. That was code for “checking that dark nether region for anything evil.” Trying to be brave, we didn’t want to admit our fears.

Darkness can send our brain a warning. Watch out for danger, evil, the unknown. Darkness comes in other ways, too- anxiety, fears, and despair.

Light, on the other hand, is a symbol of all that is good: holiness, joy, wisdom, grace, and hope.

Is it any wonder that God’s first act of creation was light?

be a light

Let There Be Light!

“And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:3.

God’s first act in the creation story was to speak light into a dark, formless, and empty space. Not only that, He saw it and deemed it good.

Likewise, His light works in our lives to eliminate darkness:

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6.

God dispels the darkness in our hearts by giving us the light of the knowledge of Christ. God knew His created earth would need natural light to sustain animal and vegetable life. He also knew our hearts needed the light of Jesus to dispel its darkness of sin and give us eternal life.

Jesus as the Light

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12.

Jesus spoke these words in an area of the temple where candles burned. The candles symbolized the light of God’s presence as the pillar of fire when he led his people through the desert. It was a tangible sign of God’s presence, guiding and protecting them.

When Jesus called himself the light of the world, it represented the light of His salvation that removes the darkness of sin from our lives. Because of Jesus, our nature is no longer dark, but light.

We are the Light of the World

Then Jesus tells us:

“You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16.

Wow. Jesus calls Himself the light of the world, then tells us that we are the light of the world too! That is an amazing compliment, but also a scary huge responsibility.

But did you notice that He didn’t say we will become the light of the world if we do this-or-that?

We are the light of the world because we are His followers. It is His light that is radiating from us with the purpose of glorifying God.

For more of Jesus’s teachings from the Sermon on the Mount, check out “Building on the Rock: 10 Lessons Jesus is Teaching Us”

Let Your Light Shine

Our reflected light may be the soft minimal glow of a nightlight or a bright intense beacon of a floodlight. Sometimes even the dimmest light can bring the hope of Jesus to someone in need. Other times may call for greater wattage! The important thing to remember is to let your light shine at all times.

Jesus must have known we’d be tempted to hide our light. He reminds us that light can’t do it’s intended work if we cover it up.

“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.” Matthew 5:15 NIV

We need to remove whatever dims our light (i.e., personal sin, fear, busyness, going along with the crowd, etc.) and then place our light high, where its purpose is put to full use. Jesus wants His people to shine brightly and draw others into our lives.

What does it mean to be a light?

Being a light means we shine in the darkness so that the lost are drawn to us and can find their way to Jesus. Our light is the good works we do that point to Him. Our light is an attitude of grace, love, compassion, and forgiveness that shows Jesus’ character.

gratitude journal

How to Walk in the Light of God

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

On our own pathway of life, God’s word is our light to show us the way to travel. It keeps us from stumbling and reveals that which would trip us up. When we read and study God’s word regularly, it illuminates our path clearly.

Let Your Light Shine in Your Family

It was always my dream to have consistently peaceful, friendly mealtimes, seasoned with wholesomeness and God-honoring conversation. Note I said “dream.”

I once threatened my family with recording our mealtimes so they could hear how awful they sometimes sounded to each other. Trouble is, it was “back in the day” and cell phones did not have cameras. (I know, I’m old!!) And well, threats never worked anyway.

The Light of Jesus

I remember thinking that if Jesus were sitting at our dinner table, He would be appalled. But now I think, if He were there, He probably would have reacted in love, been compassionate and patient, showed how much he cared, and would have spoken the truth in love.

Our families will never be perfect, but now I wish I had “pulled us together” with a family pact to shine the light of Jesus to each other.

Discussions could have specifically centered on what it means to be a light in the world within our home.

How could we use our words to build each other up? How can we be patient and encouraging to each other? Can we be humble enough to admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness?

Do we pray, worship, and engage in acts of service as a family with the intent of shining brightly for Jesus?

It’s never too late to start, though, right? Here are some other ideas that came to mind. I’d love to hear yours!

Pick a family member to pray aloud for, give reasons why you are thankful for them, and sing their praises when you see them shining Jesus’ light.

Brainstorm within your family for ideas on ways you can show God’s light in your family and elsewhere.

What about those extended family members that can be “difficult”? Many families have members that make it difficult to love them. Love them anyway, through the power of Jesus. Pray for them. Ask the Lord to show you ways to love them that can break down walls. He will show you!

Being a Light to Others at Church

You would think that being a light in your church would be the easiest place to shine, right? But how often do we spend our hour or two at church and leave it at that? (Or watch online only?)

Shining His light before others means our faith must be active.

We are called to bless our congregations by using the spiritual gifts that we have been given. Being a light means actively participating in the life and worship at your church, finding ways to serve. It’s been difficult with church services being held mostly online or with limited attendance, but there are still needs that can be covered: prayer, sending cards/notes, outdoor cleanup and garden care, making phone calls to the elderly/shut ins, etc.

Being a Light to Others in Your Community

We can shine the light of Jesus in our communities by serving those around us. It may be a physical need:

“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36

It may be a less obvious need: loneliness, worries, broken relationships, etc. Simple actions such as taking time to listen to others, small acts of kindness (even a smile!) and expressing gratitude and thanks shine with His love.

It may not always be easy or comfortable. Not everyone is an extrovert (that would include me…) But God can use each one of us when we trust Him to lead and guide us. Shining His light can be lived out in the simple verse, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31.

Is it sometimes hard to be bold? To be a bright light? Remember in those times that we are simply pointing the way to Him- He will do the work from there.

Living in the Light

Never underestimate the power of your single solitary light. Your light may be just the ray of brightness that someone was searching for! You may want to read more about how to make a difference in my post “Can One Person Make a Difference?” It also contains a free printable with 35+ practical ways to show the love of Jesus.

Our world may be dark, but we as believers are not. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8. This is so encouraging to me! Why do I forget sometimes that I have the very nature of God within me to guide and direct His shining light?

It is our responsibility to grow in our relationship and stay connected with Him through prayer, Bible study, praise, and worship. These things lead to producing a brilliant light which fulfills the purpose of pointing others to our heavenly Father.

Show the world your own distinctive and beautifully radiated light so that others may see God’s grace and love in us and be pulled toward His light!

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Hello busy women!  My name is AnnMarie Anderson and I’m so glad you’re here!  This is a place to find encouragement and hope from God’s Word as you move through your busy life.  My prayer is to infuse God’s character into your everyday lives with short ( 3-5″) devotions and Bible studies every Monday morning. I’m always interested in ways to encourage you in your spiritual growth, so feel free to contact me and let me know what areas interest you!  You can also catch up with me on my social media channels listed below!   Blessings!

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lessons from home
Hello! I'm Heather and this is Baby Joel, the youngest of five. At Lessons from Home you will find encouragement for your parenting and homeschooling journey. Healing from loss is also a major part of this blog as my family struggles through grief and brokenness at the loss of my beautiful 8 year old daughter.
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