The new you… made to shine; part 2
“…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Jesus is trying to help us to understand our greater purpose. We ARE the Light of the world – because we were made to shine by the Father of Lights. It is His handiwork within us that enables us to shine (just as Jesus shined before us). We do not have to work up to it. We do not require years of “light-shine training.” We just shine… because we ARE the Light.
This is important for another reason. We can look at this verse and conclude that we need to come up with some pretty good ideas about how to do good works for people. We can end up thinking that it is all about our ingenuity in coming up with ways to do good things for others.
But this is missing the point. Jesus is saying that we ARE the Light – and when the Light is shining, good works are the “outflow” of the Light. In other words, we don’t have to rack our brains to come up with some original ideas on how to do good for people – we just have to BE what we ARE – and the good works will be flowing from us. The good works ARE the light beams that come from the Light.
We need to understand that true good works are… God works. They are His activity, not ours. In this case, He puts the supply within us and when we take the opportunities to release that supply to others – good works is the outcome. He puts the Light within us, and we look for ways to shine. It is God at work from within us.
This is just as He had always envisioned, and as the apostle informed us: “It is God who works within you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)
This is great news. Jesus is not telling us to work harder at doing good works for people. He is telling us to just BE the Light… and shine! Jesus is not pressuring us to perform – He is teaching us that what we need is already there within us, we just have to “let it shine” in places where it can be seen.
The other essential point is that when people “see” our “good works” they are not really focusing in upon us. They are recognizing the Source behind the works – and this recognition is drawing them to encounter Him. Simply put: when people see the work of God shining from a human vessel they are drawn to recognize that it is God at work – and they are compelled to respond by giving their hearts to Him – to worship Him as their God!
Being the Light means that God is doing (from within us) what only God can do – and as we are shining the Light, to people who need His light, God receives the recognition He so rightly deserves!
Prayer focus: God, help me to simply live in Your provision of BEing the Light.