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Have you ever been told "let your light shine?" This phrase from Scripture has for ages been a central theme to Christian witness, and rightly so. These words were spoken by our very Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who also declared that just as He is the Light of the world, so are we the Light of the world through Him (Matt. 5.14,16).

Just what does it mean to "let your light shine?" To answer that question, it is first necessary to understand what light is and how it relates to us as believers in Jesus.  
You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  (Matt. 5:14-15 Douay-Rheims)
Light in these verses is translated from a Greek word which can describe natural light as well as be used to describe the glory of God, salvation, righteousness, and witness for God.  

Light can also refer to insight, knowledge, understanding, and revelation — especially when it is received from God (Eph. 1:18, 5:13-14, 2 Cor. 4:6).

Shine in Matthew 5.16 is from another Greek word meaning to beam or radiate.  It specifically refers to brilliancy and means to give the light of a torch — producing not merely a dim light, but shining brightly in full strength.

Good works in this same text refers to an act or effort which is "intrinsically good, beautiful, valuable or virtuous, excellent in nature or characteristics, noble, honourable; morally good, conferring honour which effects the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming."
With these definitions taken together, Matthew 5:16 could be rendered in this way:
Let this light, this insight, knowledge, understanding, and revelation you have received (as result of your union with Christ) brilliantly radiate and shine like a torch before this generation, so that the people around you may see and receive the intrinsically and morally good, valuable, virtuous, excellent, noble, and honourable things which are produced by the Spirit of God through you; that they may be helped and comforted, and thus glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
It is in this way that we are to let our light shine before men. We are to let the Light from the Spirit of God — His knowledge, understanding, revelation, and insight — shine, so that people may embrace that Light also and give glory to God.

A simplified illustration of this principle would be, for instance, that you have insight into how to open a jar of food, but your neighbour does not have such insight.  They may be able to touch the jar or see through its glass to the food inside it, but are unable to access the food and receive the nourishment it contains. "Letting your light shine" in such a situation could be communicating to that individual how to rotate the jar's lid in the correct direction which would open it up. Such information, correctly conveyed, would bring "light" to that individual not only for that particular instance, but also for subsequent encounters with jars.

How much greater is it when Christians let the light of the knowledge of the Lord burn like a torch through them to those whose minds have been darkened from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Letting our light shine in no way means that we flaunt our understanding or force our knowledge onto people.  We must bear in mind that mere knowledge puffs up, but Love edifies and builds up (2 Cor. 8:1).

At the same time, we are also not to withhold the insight which we have received from the Lord, as Jesus said: "A lamp is not lighted to be put under a bushel, but to be put on a lampstand; and then it gives light to all in the house" (Matt. 5:15).

We can let our light shine by communicating the ways of God; but more importantly, we can let our light shine in the way we live our life according to His Word - exemplifying holy ways and righteous conduct.

Generally, lamps or candles do not make a lot of noise nor produce a great deal of movement.  A lamp sits quietly on its stand and just shines.  This being the case, people do not so much pay attention to the lamp but to the light it produces.  So it is to be with our lives.  In this way, as the Scriptures say, people will "see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven" (Matt. 5.16).  They will see the light and glorify God.

Do Not Let the Light Go Out
Be encouraged to keep the Light of Christ eternally aflame in your life and not smother it under a bushel.

Keep radiating with his presence and give the light of a torch amidst the world of darkness, so that people may embrace the light and glorify God. 

Let your light shine!

First Love Ministries International aka FERVOUR
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Sharah LaGail Wyatt
Web site: First Love Ministries International
Sharah LaGail Wyatt is Founder and President of First Love Ministries International aka FERVOUR (based in Fort Worth, Texas), with an extensive background in the fine and performing arts and in ministry. She is a member of the International Convention of Faith Ministries (ICFM). As an anointed teacher, writer/author, graphic artist, musician and composer, she desires to lead people of all ages into the presence of God and into developing a lifestyle of faith, worship and intimacy with Him.

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