I was fueling up at the gas station recently and had an interesting divine appointment that got me thinking. The man using the pump across from me was staring at me which made for an awkward moment but then he spoke up.
He said, “Do you go to that church?” He was pointing to a Baptist church across the road. I told him that I went to Grace Baptist Church in Kettering. The conversation continued on spiritual things and it was awesome to see how the Lord set up the opportunity with this man. However, what caught my attention is when he told me the reason he had to talked to me. I did not ask him, he offered this on his own. He said, “I just had to say something to you, I knew you were a Christian because your light was shining.”
This caused me to do several things. First, praise the Lord! Second, I pray that my light is always shining for Jesus. Third, I must ask what is it that allows people to see a Christian’s light shining?
Jesus told us that we as His followers are lights and to be shining in this dark world.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
In this passage we have a statement of fact, “Ye are the light of the world…”
We as Christians are the light that God has left in this world to witness for Him. Acts 1:8 bears this out when it tells us we are witnesses. These are facts that lead to the question, “How bright is your light? How effective is your witness?” As a Christian you cannot change that fact that you are a light, but you do determine if that light is seen or not.
We also have a command, “Let your light so shine before men…”
Christ commands us to shine. That word shine means to beam, to radiate brilliancy. We choose whether our light is dim or radiant. So what is it that dims our light? What bushel do you allow over your light that dims it or makes it invisible?
Before I describe some possible bushels, I want to make an important point about our lights. In our day it is popular among Christians to espouse the thinking that all that matters is the heart — what is on the inside. However, I see that Jesus commanded us to be visible for Him. Certainly the heart matters and it must be right with God if we are to shine on the outside, but the outside must shine too. So lets not get caught up in the thinking that what is visible about you is not important, just the invisible. We must shine — that’s visible!
Let’s consider some bushels that can hide our light:
- A Backslidden Heart. Nothing will dim and hide our light faster than not being right with God. Fellowship with our Heavenly Father is put on hold when we cling on to sin that the Holy Spirit has told us to confess. Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Those are fearful words to one who has chosen to walk in sin. The fact is, when we are out of fellowship with our God, our light is hidden. We have busheled it! Let the Psalmist’s prayer be your prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
- A Joyless Countenance. Whether it is a constant smile, a pleasant look or light in the eyes, you can tell a Christian who is in love with God. The world can’t mistake it! The faces of the lost communicate anger, hate, hurt, discouragement, and hopelessness. The faces of Christians should communicate love, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness. We often don’t shine for Jesus because our faces don’t tell a story that the lost notice and then want to hear.
- A Confusing Appearance. Every serious business is keenly aware of the power of a distinct and identifiable appearance. They will spend a great deal of money on sharp uniforms. Again, in our military an orderly appearance is an absolute. It should be no different for the follower of Christ. Your appearance should send a clear distinct message for the Lord. Be careful not to wear clothing, hairstyles and accessories that cause people to think you are a follower of the world. The world pushes its name brand shirts, its tattered jeans and the grunge look. Lets rise above it and have a clean, neat, distinct and identifiable appearance that shines for Christ.
- A Worldly Speech. The world has its lingo, language and its popular conversation topics. As Christians it is important to remember moment by moment that our light can be hid when we sound like the world. The bushel is placed quickly over our light when we complain about the gas prices, speak in anger or use minced oaths (like heck instead of hell). The world should see a marked difference in our speech. Colossians 4:6 tells us to “Let your speech be always with grace…” Our speech should be spiritual, God enabled speech. One of my prayers each day is found in Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Ask God to help you each day to be a light through your speech.
- A Compromising Company. I think of Peter warming his hands at the fire with the servants during Christ’s trial. (Matthew 26:58) Avoiding clear identification with Jesus, he stood afar off with a worldly company who did not love Christ. Peter was not there to win them but blend in with them. This choice of company partly led to his denial of Jesus, a decision he would regret for the rest of life. Sometimes Christians hide their light by “hanging” with the wrong crowd. Like Peter, they try to blend with the world and not clearly identify with Christ. Let’s be sure that we are not placing a bushel over our light by having a compromised company.
Jesus has told us that we are lights to the world and has commanded that we let them shine unhindered, undimmed and bushel free. Take a moment and ask Jesus if you are shining as brightly for Him as He desires. Whatever bushels He points out, determine to confess it and forsake so that you radiate brilliancy for Jesus Christ.