Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, ESV).

A Christian is to let his “light shine before others,” Jesus says (Matthew 5:16). What does this mean as we try to apply it to our lives? Let’s think of a few things “light” does which we might apply to our spiritual walk.

Light reflects. Take a mirror and hold it up to the light and it will reflect off of that mirror in a different direction. Jesus is, Himself, the “light of the world” (John 8:12). Christians are to be a reflection of Jesus to touch people where Jesus Himself may not directly reach (Acts 13:47).

Light shines. To make this point, Jesus says earlier, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). Followers of Jesus shine and stand out. A secret disciple is akin to a lamp covered up by a basket—it has little value.

Light exposes. We turn on the light in a dark room so we can see the lurking dangers and avoid stubbing our toes and knocking over furniture. We want to see the problems which may trip us up. Christians have a duty to expose sin not to act as hurtful judges, but as helpful protectors. Those who love sin and ignore its consequences will hate the light. Those who love to be careful in their walk with God will love the light of God’s Word being shone upon their lives (John 3:20-21).

Light guides. Why do airports line the runways with lights? Why do we light our walkways with lights? What was the original purpose of placing a lighthouse on an isle or near a seaport? Time and again its purpose is to guide our path. God needs His people to set the standard and be the guide for others who have lost their way and are wandering in darkness (Luke 1:79).

Light impresses. Whenever a solar eclipse takes place, the world goes crazy at this natural phenomenon. The cost of eclipse glasses skyrockets because everyone wants to look up and witness this unique event. While the brightness of the blinding light is impressive, the God who ordered it in His natural world is even brighter still. Whatever light people see in us, is not intended to impress them with us personally—but with Jesus who “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature”(Hebrews 1:3).