In contemplating the topic, I started thinking about how we can’t generate darkness. Meaning if someone asked what tools you’ll need to create darkness there isn't anything you can use to generate it. The only way we can contribute to darkness is to take something away that already exist, and that is light.
This thought process intrigued me because in order for us to affect darkness we can either shine a light on it which would make it disappear or we can pull our light away and allow darkness to show itself because it’s already there.
Then I thought about our responsibility to let our light shine and realized that Matthew didn’t say make your light shine; these words have different meanings. “Let” means you already have it and just need to release it; while “make” means to generate something yourself.
So I thought about these words and realized I couldn’t “make” my light shine because I wouldn’t be able to light things up so to speak. I hate to say it but me without God is evil. I promise you that no one would like me if I succumbed to those dark sides of me. So how in the world could I be a light when everything inside of me is dark? Once again when you’re dark you can’t generate light.
Now here’s the good part…it’s not just me in my body anymore. Jesus told his disciples to not worry about him leaving because he was sending the Holy Spirit (John Chapter 14) to dwell within them; to guide and teach them according to the teachings he shared with them. When we become Christians we too get the Holy Spirit to reside within us; we become a Holy temple. This is quite a responsibility so I’ll write about it another day; needless to say I’m often very embarrassed at the way I keep my temple up.
With the above in mind though, we certainly have more light that we can shine because of the Holy Spirit being within us but the problem is that we do exactly what I just mentioned and that is we don’t do a good job of keeping our temple clean. We try to hide things in the closet and close doors to certain rooms in an effort to limit the disruption the Holy Spirit might have on our earthly lives.
This is why we can’t generate enough light to make the difference we should be making because when we limit the Holy Spirit’s impact on our lives we lose some of our Christian effectivess in the world. It becomes challenging to bear good fruit and if you think about what Jesus said about trees not bearing fruit, it's a scary position to be in.
I started wondering if most of us aren’t treating our bodies as a temple then how in the heck are we making a positive difference because I know we are in many ways. I thought about this and got really excited because I realized how it probably works when it comes to Matthew 5:16. Then I thought about how I could convey what it means to “let” your light shine. So this is what I did:
I was giving my Bible Study in a conference room at our office. We had Bible Study for those who wanted to attend about 40 minutes before work started. Anyhow, there was a buffet table in the room and it had about a foot of space on the bottom and it was completely dark underneath it. I had a few people take a look to verify. Then I took a small mirror and bent down next to the table and held the mirror to where it was facing the ceiling lights and then I tilted the mirror a little bit and it completely lit up the bottom of the table. Once again I had a few people verify. Some others came up as well just to see how much light it generated.
I then went on to explain a few things to consider about my demonstration. One is that we don’t have a mirror unless we have the Holy Spirit. Without the mirror we’d probably just absorb some light but we certainly couldn't reflect it in the world.
Another thing to consider is that God doesn’t want us holding our mirror right back to him because he doesn’t need the light; he has plenty! All he wants us to do is reflect his light in those dark places. This is why Matthew 5:16 says “Let your light shine.” We don’t have to create the light because we don’t really have anything to offer without the Holy Spirit. The light we’d generate on our own would be about as effective as pointing our flashlights at the sun.
One last point, if we turn our mirror completely towards the world, we’d have the back of the mirror facing towards God so we’d have no light to share. We have to be in the world (tilting our mirrors) but we can’t be of the world; we need to keep our mirror pointing to where the light source is coming from and that's God.
This whole message from God on “Letting your light shine” is awesome because I can be spiritually lazy at times. This message reminds me that I don’t have to worry about being good enough to get out there and minister to those in need. God never expected perfect and instead used some pretty rough characters to accomplish his missions. All he asked of them is to point his light towards a dark world in need of light.