How Can You Be Light in the World?
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
I want to spend a little more time considering what it means for you and me to be the light of the world. Jesus was the first to make such a startling claim about us (Matt. 5:14). It is reiterated in Ephesians 5:8, where we read, "For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." Now you are light in the Lord, and so am I! What an amazing statement. If it weren't in Scripture, I would not be so audacious as to think this, let alone to write it.
But how can you and I be light in the world? If Jesus is the "true light that gives light to everyone" (John 1:9), what does it mean for us to be light?
It seems obvious that our lightness is not self-generated, but reflected. As believers in Jesus, we don't have guilt by association, but light by association. As we walk in the light of Jesus, as we allow his goodness to illumine us, as we let his truth shine through us, we will take on a heavenly glow. We will be light, but only "in the Lord."
The analogy of a lighthouse helps me understand how we are light in the world. Certain lighthouses can send a beam as far as 28 miles out to sea. To be sure, they have an extremely bright bulb. Yet, a lighthouse is able to shine so far not only because of the intensity of its bulb. Additionally, surrounding the bulb in a modern lighthouse are dozens of small prisms that help to intensify and to focus the light. Though the prisms have no intrinsic light, they are essential to a lighthouse. Yes, the bulb radiates brightly and creates the light. But the prisms enable the light to shine far beyond the sphere that would be illuminated by the bulb alone.
I don't mean to suggest that Christ cannot enlighten the whole world by himself. But he has chosen to shine in the world through us. We are his prisms, so to speak. When you and I are properly aligned with Christ, his light shines through us in such a way that we also serve as light in the world.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you a prism for Jesus in your part of the world? How? Why? Or why not? What helps you to be aligned with Christ so that you might shine with his light?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for being the light of the world. Thank you also for choosing me to be one of your "prisms." Thank you for the high calling and high privilege of reflecting your light into the world.
Help me, I pray, to be a well-aligned prism today. Wherever I am, at work or at school, with my colleagues or my friends, in the local store or with my small group at church, may I shine your light into the world. Amen.
Social Justice at Work
When God asks us to take care of the orphan, widow, and the poor, what does that mean for our workplaces? How do we follow a social justice mandate in our offices, schools, warehouses and retail establishments? And how does it change our world when social justice works the way God intended?
In the series Social Justice at Work, The High Calling explores social justice in the places we work and the ways we work. Join us as we discuss how our calling to the "least of these" affects us outwardly in our jobs, and inwardly as we perform our jobs, via theme-related Bible reflections, featured articles, and discussion starters. We encourage you to add your questions, concerns and comments, engage with us on social media (especially Twitter and Facebook), and invite your friends and colleagues to do the same.