Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
(Matthew 5:15 NIV)
This may seem obvious but what is Jesus saying.
He is saying more than just stating the obvious.
Is it a warning or a statement or both?
What He has given us He has no intention of hiding it from the world.
It is too wonderful to be hidden.
You are too wonderful to be hidden.
You will stand out in the crowd.
You will draw attention to yourself whether you are looking for it or not.
Do not be ashamed or embarrassed by what He has given you or done for you.
This is not just for your benefit.
This is not to be hidden and cannot be hidden.
By default it is marked on you.
You are a marked person.
Any attempt to blend in with the crowd will tear you apart.
You live in two realms but there can only be one king.
You are effectively doing something completely illogical.
I don’t think he apologises for this.
Even if you don’t remember signing the contract.
You received your salvation with joy.
He never made you do it.
Although the alternative wasn’t really an alternative.
This is how we are all meant to be.
To be light not darkness.
Light is for light, it is that simple.
Just because some people prefer the darkness.
They may give you a hard time,
It doesn’t mean that you have to forfeit your light.
It may be uncomfortable.
You may be unpopular.
You may get less likes on social media.
Jesus certainly didn’t have an easy time of it.
So don’t be surprised if you don’t.
Don’t be tempted to hide.
Don’t be tempted to blend in.
No matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable it is.
Make it your aim to please Him who is the source of your light.
The One who put His light in you.
It is a small price to pay.
If others don’t appreciate what He has done for you so be it.
He has done exactly the same for them.
Keeping your eyes on Him.
Fill yourself with His love.
Bask in His light.
It will always more than compensate you for any hardship.
It will be greater than any criticism or rejection.
If anyone does do this to you.
You have only one response and that is to love.
You have no right to feel sorry for yourself.
Nor should you hit back.
Set your stall out.
Don’t be persuaded to sell out.
Don’t give away the most precious gift anyone could give you.
Especially from One who loves you so perfectly.
You may have received abuse and ridicule from others.
Decided to follow Jesus’ example.
That means following Him.
And Him only.
So shine and let your light fill the darkness.
Don’t let any attitude, motive or feeling shroud that light.
You need to remain vulnerable and transparent.
Let people see your heart.
You don’t have to rip it out or expose it but let people see that you care and that you love.
He has gifted you with gifts that are for the benefit of everyone.
You may spend much of your time trying to work out what these gifts do and how they work.
But until you use them or at least try to you will never know.
Even the Bible is a bit obtuse about them.
What you have you can use.
There is always something that you can do.
Ask Him how He wants you to shine.
You may need to find out what He has specifically given to you.
Also for what purpose.
You have a desire to see His kingdom.
But His kingdom is not in the shadows.
It is light.
It is to be seen and experienced.
It is for the benefit of others not just for your own personal experience.
People talk about their experiences.
Often, in great detail about what they have done for God.
Or what God has done for them.
But that is not it.
The question is, is your light shining?
It is not just about you.
You are the light.
People need to see it and experience it.
Don’t think that it will just happen.
You have to make an effort.
Which is not the same as being busy.
It is about being intentional.
Walking with The Spirit all day, every day.
Even minute by minute.
This means your spiritual senses are constantly aware of opportunities to bless people.
Bless them whether they realise it or not.
Remember that it is you actively doing it.
From His love for you and for their benefit.
He sees what you do in secret.
He knows what acts of kindness you have done.
They don’t go unnoticed.
He thinks more highly of you than you do yourself.
So go easy on yourself if you mess up.
It isn’t an excuse to do whatever you want.
As if it doesn’t matter.
It does matter.
It matters because it matters to Him.
It is your heart and your desires that attracts Him to you.
Set out to please Him in every way.
Not to earn His approval but to imitate His love.
You will not always get it right.
But that is world away from thinking what you do doesn’t matter.
That light will expose everything and not everyone will be happy with that.
When you reveal His heart you expose theirs.
His light shining through you will expel the darkness.
The darkness is just the absence of light.
So where you go the light goes.
Each house in that ‘town on a hill’ will shine at night.
People will see it for miles around and will go to it.
It will be inviting.
Remember not for everyone will feel the same way.
Some will reject the gospel.
They will reject you because they see you carrying the message.
Don’t try to be men pleasers.
Please only Him.
We have it within us because He lives in us.