I hadn’t planned to write about hiding your light this week, but I’ve been wrestling with God over every word since the calendar flipped to January, and that’s not the norm. I logged a lot of hours hunched over my keyboard tapping out two very different posts from what you’re reading today. But I simply couldn’t still my soul with either. I don’t know if the words will work themselves out or not, so I wanted to share the gist of them with you, just in case they never see the light of day:
- Regular repentance restores our shine.
- God uses hard times to refine our shine.
When I sat down to study the context of my verse for the year, something I noticed had me scratching my head. You may know Matthew 5:16 falls within the larger portion of Scripture referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus spoke about the way His followers should live. The two verses prior say:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand,
and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Hiding Your Light
Why on earth would any one ever want to hide the light Jesus gives us?
Then, I remembered my days in the Army. When we went to the field to train, we had to practice strict light discipline during hours of darkness. One unshielded flashlight could broadcast our position to the enemy like a homing beacon. One carelessly uncovered window could endanger the entire camp.
Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were afraid of the enemy, it was just training, after all. But if hiding our light could help us avoid an attack it seemed like pretty sound strategy.
And I think that same mentality worms its way into our minds when we consider shining our light into the world. Perhaps it isn’t even a conscious decision. Just a subtle inkling…
If I don’t shine here I won’t have to defend my beliefs.
If I don’t speak up no one will attack my position.
If I don’t act, no one will judge my actions.
If I don’t stand up, no one can knock me down.
If I don’t use my gifts, no one will accuse me of being prideful.
If they don’t see me, maybe they won’t look into my past.
Fear and shame make us feel like hiding our light.
But God is not ashamed of His people.
God is Not Ashamed
He made that abundantly clear from the very beginning. When Adam and Eve attempted to hide from Him in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit they feared Him and were ashamed at their nakedness. While there was a consequence for their sin, one that we still feel today, God didn’t abandon them. Instead, He clothed them with a finer garment than they could make for themselves. He replaced their shoddy leaves with the skin of an animal sacrificed for their covering, so they could step out from the shadows.Fear and shame make us feel like hiding our light, but God is not ashamed of His people. #shine #donthideyourlight Click To Tweet
Then, He did the same for all of us. He sacrificed His Son so our sins would be covered and we could stand unashamed, clothed in His righteousness.
Whom do you fear?
My past isn’t perfect, by any means. Heck, my present isn’t even all that pretty sometimes (#mess). While Christians are called to be holy because God is holy, that isn’t a mark we’ll meet this side of heaven. So, maybe if Christians quit pretending to be perfect, more people would have the courage to shine in the dark. Maybe if we shined a light on the truth that we are simply sinners saved by God’s grace more people would be encouraged to step into the light with us. Who knows, our light might just be a beacon of hope for someone surrounded by darkness to begin growing toward.
If we believe Jesus’s sacrifice qualifies us to stand before God unashamed, we ought to be able to shine before men without fear. Maybe you haven’t named that feeling that has you hiding your light as fear. Perhaps you call it self-preservation, not rocking the boat, humility, insecurity, or responsibility. But it comes down to fear in some form or another. Whom do you fear, man or God?If we believe Jesus’s sacrifice qualifies us to stand before God unashamed, we ought to be able to shine before men without fear. #shine #matthew5:16 Click To Tweet
Where is Your Focus?
While we do live in a world that is becoming more hostile toward Christians, Christ already defeated our enemy. But the devil is looking to take down as many people as he can on his way to the pits of Sheol. And guess what? He already knows where we are. So, only he benefits when we hide our light. But those who haven’t seen the light, are the ones who have the most to lose. Much like most plants, faith doesn’t grow in the dark. Only fear and shame flourish there. Seeds need a source of light to grow toward, without it they remain dormant.
Dormant seeds of faith don’t glorify God. And that is the purpose of our shining…. that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
When you feel like hiding your light, where is your focus? On man? On Satan? On yourself? We always focus on what we fear. We cannot shine if we aren’t focused on God. But when we focus on Him, His love, His grace, His power, His light, His truth, His victory, we cannot help but shine!
Maybe if we focused more on shining because of Jesus instead of shining for Him, we’d feel less like hiding our light.
When do you feel most like hiding your light? What does that say about where you’re placing your faith? How might Psalm 27:1 and John 1:5 encourage you to stop hiding your light and shine bright?When we focus more on shining because of Jesus instead of shining for Him, we feel less like hiding our light. #shine #donthideyourlight Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday.