In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘let your light shine’.
Our world is full of polar opposites: sweet-bitter, joy – sadness, narrow – broad, positive-negative, male-female, up-down, light-dark etc. We can’t know one without the other. Just as there is a Kingdom of heaven – the light. There is a kingdom of darkness. Even the weather is reflective of these kingdoms – when the days are dark and dismal, wet and windy do we not feel heavy-hearted? But on warm, sunny days, faces light up. People seem to have a bounce in their step, we talk to our neighbours, we enjoy the outdoors and feel altogether more alive.
Warring for the hearts and minds of men
Just as we see this is the natural elements, there is a whole spiritual dimension at work. Here the two opposing factions war for the hearts and minds of men. But there is a way to not play into the hands of our enemy. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life,” John 8:12. He who follows Him will have the Light of life.
Have you ever known real darkness? I once went to Barcelona. I stayed in a hotel with outside roller shutters on the windows and thick blackout curtains on the inside. When these were closed there was dense darkness there that was almost tangible. I have never experienced darkness like it. Yet even in these places, the light of a single match can illuminate the entire room. And so it is spiritually. Despite whatever spiritual darkness surrounds us, the tiniest spark of the light of the Lord dispels it. Even whispering the name ‘Jesus’ is enough to send the demons running. Let your light shine!
You are the light of Christ to the world – Let it Shine
Jesus had much to say about ‘light’. He said of us, ‘You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognise, honour] and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
How do we let our light shine? By walking in the light. Have the light of life light our path. Being full of goodness:- good deeds, moral integrity, joy. A verse in another of Andrew’s poems reads ‘Let us learn then to let the world pass by, in Him be perfectly still. Then, we can ask for that light, out of the purest desire for His will’. We need to cast off the distractions and restraints of this world and come into God’s presence requiring nothing but His will for our lives. He promises that His burden is light and His yoke is easy. Let your light shine!
Let your whole body be illuminated
Jesus further gives us a warning ‘Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness. So if your whole body is illuminated, with no dark part, it will be entirely bright [with light], as when the lamp gives you light with its bright rays,” Luke 11:35. I have noticed a certain sparkle in the eyes of those who have great intimacy with the Lord. Just as the scripture says, ‘The eye is the lamp of the body, so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts].’ We have been promised the Holy Spirit to indwell us and equip us to walk in this light.
Henry says – They had the light with all the advantage they could desire. For God, having lighted the candle of the gospel, did not put it in a secret place, or under a basket. Christ did not preach in corners. The apostles were ordered to preach the gospel to every creature. Both Christ and his ministers, cry out in the chief places. It is a great privilege that the light of the gospel is put on a candlestick, so that all that come in may see it. They may see it where they are and where they are going, and what is the true, and sure, and only way to happiness.
The light of Divine revelation
Having the light, their concern was to have the sight, or else what purpose was the light to them? Even if the object be so clear, if the organ of the eye is not right, then there is no benefit. The light of the body is the eye (Luke 11:34), which receives the light of the candle when it is brought into the room. So the light of the soul is the understanding and judgment, and its power of discerning between good and evil, truth and falsehood. According to this, so the light of Divine revelation is to us, and our benefit by it.
If this eye of the soul be single, if it see clear, see things as they are, and judge impartially concerning them. If it aim at truth only, and seek it for its own sake, then the whole body, that is, the whole soul, is full of light, it receives and entertains the gospel. Along with this will bring into the soul both knowledge and joy.
If our understanding admits the gospel in its full light, it fills the soul. If the soul is filled with the light of the gospel, having no part dark then the whole soul shall be full of light, full of holiness and comfort. But all its powers and faculties must be subjected to the government and influence of the gospel, and none left unsanctified.
Sincerely seek God’s truth
The gospel will come into those souls whose doors and windows are thrown open to receive it and where it comes it will bring light with it. But, if the eye of the soul be evil—if the understanding be prejudiced against Divine truths, and resolved not to admit them, though brought with ever so convincing an evidence—it is no wonder that the whole body, the whole soul, should be full of darkness, Luke 11:34. How can they have instruction, information, direction, or comfort, from the gospel, that wilfully shut their eyes against it? and what hope is there of such? what remedy for them?
The inference therefore is, Beware that the light which is in you be not darkness, Luke 11:35. Take heed that the eye of the mind is not blinded by partiality, or prejudice, or sinful aims. Be sincere in your inquiries after truth, and ready to receive it in the light, and love, and power of it. Not being as the men of this generation to whom Christ preached. They never sincerely desired to know God’s will, nor designed to do it, and therefore no wonder that they walked on in darkness, wandered endlessly, and perished eternally.
He reveals profound and hidden things
That Christ is that light of the world (John 8:12). One of the rabbies said, Light is the name of the Messiah, as it is written, (Dan. 2:22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things, He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him). And light dwells in Christ. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God – God of gods, Light of lights.
He was expected to be a light to enlighten the Gentiles (Luke 2:32), and so the light of the world, and not of the Jewish church only. The visible light of the world is the sun, and Christ is the Sun of righteousness. One sun enlightens the whole world, so does Christ, and there needs no more. What He is in Himself—most excellent and glorious. He is also to the world—the fountain of light, enlightening every man. What a dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Christ by whom light came into the world, John 3:19.
He that follows ‘Me’, as a traveller follows the light in a dark night, we shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. If Christ be the light, then, it is our duty to follow Him, to submit ourselves to His guidance, and in everything take directions from Him, in the way that leads to happiness. Many follow false lights—which lead to destruction. But Christ is the true light. It is not enough to look at this light, and to gaze upon it, but we must follow it, believe in it, and walk in it, for it is a light to our feet, not our eyes only. It is the happiness of those who follow Christ that they shall not walk in darkness.
When we follow Him we shall not be left in want of the instructions in the way of truth which are necessary to keep us from destroying error. We shall have the light of life, that knowledge and enjoyment of God. This will be to us the light of spiritual life in this world and of everlasting life in the other world, where there will be no death nor darkness. Follow Christ, and we shall undoubtedly be happy in both worlds. Follow Christ, and we shall follow him to heaven.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
You turn my darkness into light It may be that my soul sits in darkness And if this be of a spiritual kind Then no human power can bring light To the heart, the soul or the mind. But God can enlighten my darkness My candle He can at once light. The darkness may truly be felt Yes He can make the gloom become bright. If He lights the candle No one can blow it out The brightness of the Lord Dispels all lingering doubt. The lights which the Lord kindled In the beginning are shining still They cannot be extinguished It would go against His will. The Lord’s lamps may need trimming So often this may be But I shall soon have the candle Of the Lord shining about me. Expectation shall furnish me with music And hope shall pitch the tune Like the nightingale I can sing in the dark For I know He is coming soon. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, light up my life with the light of Christ within me. May I radiate for You. May my eyes sparkle with delight in Your presence that all may see You shining through me and that I may lead others into Your eternal life. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.