Let your Light Shine

Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” wrote: “Live in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you.” What a wonderful way to live, what a lofty goal, is to live a godly life and share with others the Word of God, so that they in turn are more knowledgeable about God and are drawn to serve Him because of us. We who are seeking to serve our God faithfully find inspiration in this thought. However, these words set a standard that most of us find difficult, if not impossible, to live up to. Jesus was the ultimate example of demonstrating the character of God in his life, and the words he spoke were not his own words, but the words of his Father. Jesus fulfilled this ideal character perfectly.

Paul tells us, “be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,” and he gives practical advice to his spiritual son Timothy to help him towards this goal: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.”

Many claim to be living a godly life, and may do many good deeds, but they miss important aspects. We learn from the prophet Micah, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” We need humility and childlike faith, as Jesus explained to his disciples, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” There is no room for pride, but rather for behind-the-scenes acts of kindness, dedication to Bible study and acts of service for God in all aspects of life. Walking humbly with our God means serving him quietly without great fanfare. By our fair and honest practices, consideration for others, work ethic, and faithful adherence to the commands of Christ, those around us should be able to discern that our standards are godly ones. We also need to constantly talk of our faith so that others can learn about God
from us.

The wise observation, “What you are doing, is hollering so loud I cannot hear what you are saying” can apply to us if we do not uphold the standards that we preach. One man was asked once by a colleague why he parked his Christianity at the threshold of the office when he walked in the door. We may talk the talk about our beliefs, but we should be acting in harmony with our talk. Let us not be like those the apostle Paul describes, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

It is impressive that those who heard Peter and John could tell that they had been with Jesus: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Does everyone who knows us know that we belong to Christ and that he is the center of our life? This goal should be our priority as we mix with the world, but are not part of it.

When Moses came down from the mount after having been with God for 40 days and 40 nights, his face actually shone so brightly that the people were blinded by it. He had to cover his face with a veil to shield them from the brightness. In time the brightness faded and he no longer had to wear the veil. If we stay out in the hot sun on a summer day for a long time, we also begin to glow from the effects of the sun’s rays shining upon us. We perspire and can get sun burn. In time we cool down, our skin cells eventually renew themselves, the effect fades and our glow goes.

Many years ago I returned to work on Monday morning after having attended Bible School the previous week. A coworker standing near the door as I arrived asked, “How was your vacation?” I answered, “It was great! I went to Bible School, enjoyed three excellent teachers, learned and talked about Bible topics all week and had a wonderful time!” He said, “You are glowing.” I thanked him for noticing. This was Monday morning.

On Thursday afternoon the same man walked by my office and looked in my open door. I was sitting behind a desk piled high with files talking into two phones, one at each ear. I had a client on one line and an adjuster on the other line and was trying to negotiate a claim for my client. He paused for a moment and then called out, “The glow has gone.” It had.

Sadly, some never glow, while for most of us the glow fades with the cares of this life. We need to recharge our glow by filling our minds with the things of God, and work to keep our glow for the Lord glowing no matter what else is happening in our life.

Let us try to live so close to God and his son that others will be able to see the spiritual glow that we have for things eternal. Let us strive to align ourselves so closely to the Lord Jesus that we actually seem to shine because we are so full of love for our Lord. The opening quote can be modified to say, “Live in such a way that people who know you but don’t know Christ will want to know Christ because they know you.” When others see the character of Christ in us by how we live our life, it can help motivate them to want the same glow for themselves.

May the way we live our lives be an example to those around us so that they will want to know more about our God because of us. As our Lord said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Robert J. Lloyd