Shine As Lights In The World
By Rich Carmicheal
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life…” (Phil. 2:14-16).
“The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the lighthouse warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbor. Let us try thus to shine.” – Matthew Henry
As children of God, we have tremendous responsibility. His blessings in our lives are to overflow and influence and impact the lives of those around us. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-14), and our lives are to be instruments to draw others to the Lord. Our light is to shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Christ calls us to touch the world on His behalf, and He sends us into the world “to make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19-20). We are His ambassadors, as though He Himself were entreating others through us (2 Cor. 5:20).
While such a calling is always significant, how much more so “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15). There is obviously terrible spiritual and moral darkness all around us, and because of this, the need for light is all the greater! Though many unbelievers may not recognize or acknowledge it, they need the light we have as God’s people. And while many may reject us and our light, some (hopefully, many!) will be drawn to the Lord through our light.
Of course, our light is ultimately the light of the Lord Himself! “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). And as Christ says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Light That Attracts
How vital it is, therefore, that we shine as His light in the world and we prove ourselves “to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach…holding forth the word of life” (Phil. 2:14-16). The people around us need to see something in us that is in sharp contrast to the spiritual and moral darkness and to the emptiness that the world offers. They need to see Christ in us. They need to see in our lives the character of Christ and His good works. They need to see His humility, His compassion, His love and His servant’s heart. They need to see us treating others as He would treat them. They need to see us caring for the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the lowly, the hungry and the needy. They need to see us bearing the burdens of others and forgiving as Christ forgives us. They need to see us striving after peace with all men.
They need to see in us people filled with heart. …People who love God with their whole being, love their neighbor as themselves, love their families, love their fellow believers, love the lost, and who love even their enemies. …People who are fervent in love and who walk in love as Christ loved. …People who honor all men and who live in reverence of the Lord.
They need to see in us people who are pure in heart, sincere and without hypocrisy. …People who genuinely care for others, placing the needs of others above their own. …People who have died to self and have no self-interest, but instead live for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
They need to see in us people who are unworldly and who are not in love with money. …People with great contentment who live simply and who give cheerfully, sacrificially and generously.
They need to see in us people who are not enslaved to sin, but who are forgiven, cleansed and set free in Christ. …People who hunger and thirst after righteousness and who have put away anger and rage, impurity and immorality, covetousness and greed, hatred and strife, drunkenness and carousing. …People who are instead filled with fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. …People who lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity (1 Tim. 2:2) and who “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10).
They need to see in us people who are devoted to truth. …People who honor and cherish the Scriptures as divine truth, and whose lives are filled with encouragement and light from God’s Word. …People who delight in the Lord and His Word, and who do the will of God from the heart. …People who are filled with honesty and integrity, and who speak the truth in love. …People who speak from sincerity and whose words are edifying and seasoned with grace.
They need to see in us people who are full of faith. …People who have an everpresent, all-knowing and all-powerful God in whom they fully trust and upon whom they fully depend. …People who are devoted to prayer, asking big things of a big God. …People who believe that nothing is impossible for God and that He works through prayer to provide, guide, protect, heal, deliver, revive, restore, strengthen and save. …People who are not filled with anxiety, but who trust the Lord through prayer and are filled with His peace. …People who are faithful to pray for God’s intervention in the lives of others.
They need to see in us people who endure patiently through suffering and hardship. …People who have His strength and grace to sustain them in the most difficult circumstances. …People who in their weakness have the power of Christ dwelling in them. …People who are not overcome by evil, but who overcome evil with good. …People who do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead.
They need to see in us people who are filled with hope. …People with a glorious future who are looking forward to the blessed hope of the return of Christ. …People who have the song of the Lord in their heart. …People who do not complain or grumble, but who overflow with thanksgiving and joy.
They need to see in us people with eternal purpose. …People who appreciate and value life and who take advantage of every moment the Lord provides. …People who are “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). …People who are not living for the temporal, but for the eternal. …People who devote all they are, all they have, and all they do, to the glory of God.
They need to see in us people with the touch of God upon them. …People who spend time in His presence and who are filled with His life. …People who have the glow of His fire on them. …People who are new creations in Christ and who are being transformed from glory to glory.
“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).