Light plays an important role in our daily lives. Have you ever wondered what would happen if there was no light at all? I don’t mean a power outage for a few days, which for those of us who live in Nigeria isn’t news. We are used to power failure for a day, two days, one week, in some extreme cases a month plus. This is why the sales of generators can thrive in Nigeria. Generators have become a major source of electricity for most businesses and households. Now picture a situation where there’s no source of light whatsoever, there are no generators to serve as a backup arrangement when there’s a blackout. How would businesses cope? In these days of text messages, e-mails, google maps, whatsapp messages and calls, facebook, twitter, instagram and the likes being a major source of communication, imagine how life would be if there was no electricity to power your smart phone. Your phone goes off and remains off in perpetuity because there’s no electricity, there’s no backup battery pack and power banks. Now think of what the earth would be like if the sun disappears. This means even solar energy which is an alternative to electricity won’t be available. The devastating impact this would have on the earth is better imagined than experienced. We are used to short term and long term loss of electric power, but can we survive without the sun? Virtually everything revolves round the sun. It is the sun that creates conditions that make it possible and conducive for us to exist on earth. Without the sun, we would be in complete darkness; no vision, no visibility, no illumination whatsoever. People would freeze to death as the world would be too cold a place to live in without the warmth from the sun. Plants and animals would die which means that man would die from starvation. Life without the sun, stars, moon, electricity and all sources of light we depend on today would be catastrophic; it would be black, dark, harmful, horrible and unfavourable. That’s how important light is.
Now you have an idea of how important light is for human existence. Jesus goes ahead to say something really deep when He likens believers to light; when He likens believers to an essential element for human existence in Matthew 5:14. Jesus says about us “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” This scripture should humble every believer for a great honour has been given us. At the same time, it should make us see why we can’t afford to joke with our relationship with God as a great responsibility has been placed on us. We are an integral part of God’s plan and work in the world in the same way light is vital and necessary for people’s daily work and living. As light is to human existence, so are believers to God’s agenda for individuals, families, the church, communities and nations of the world. God wants to use believers to light up the world.
Light can’t be hidden; our faith in God shouldn’t be hidden. You don’t light a lamp and then hide it under a basket or table (Matthew 5:15). Our faith in God, our belief and devotion to God’s word shouldn’t be a secret or something mentioned and discussed only when we are in church. In our families, offices, neighbourhood and community, people should clearly see our faith in God and stand for God. By our attitude, conversations, daily decisions and response to unpleasant situations of life, our relationship with God should glow for all to see. People should be able to see and say this is indeed a true believer; this is a child of God, a child of light. Not hiding the light of our faith is being bold and confident to publicly acknowledge God before men, even men that believe it is offensive to mention Jesus or pray in particular settings and situations outside the church (Luke 12:8). Making the light of our faith visible to the world means we never miss a chance to tell people about the love, mercy and compassion of our Lord. We are not ashamed to preach the gospel on the streets, in a bus, on a plane, in our neighbourhood and anywhere God takes us or places us (Romans 1:16). When we pretend that we don’t know Jesus like Peter pretended he didn’t know Jesus when he was asked if he was a disciple of Christ, our Christianity is nothing but a pocket Christianity. A Christianity that we bring out when it is convenient and hide in our pockets when it isn’t convenient.
In Genesis 1: 1-2, when the earth was formless, empty and dark, what did God do? He created light to remove the darkness and to bring shape, form and life to an empty, formless world (Genesis 1:3). There are so many lives, families, marriages, businesses, ministries, communities and nations of the world that appear to be in darkness. Things haven’t taken shape or fallen into place. There’s a lot of nothingness, emptiness and dryness that’s getting people frustrated and tired of life. The solution to all of this is bringing in more light; more believers shining the light of Christ. Light travels a distance. We may not know the effect our fervent and persistent intercession, words of hope and encouragement, kind gestures, integrity, credibility and exemplary lifestyle can have on people far away from us.
God wants our light to shine before men (Matthew 5:16), He wants our light to shine out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6). There’s a lot of darkness around us. We see the darkness everywhere we turn – indiscipline, corruption, injustice, selfish ambition, immorality of the highest form, irreverence for God and the things of God. Are we shining out of darkness or are we a part of the darkness? Are we helping to pull people out of the darkness of sin or are we the ones being pulled into sin? You can’t see darkness in light. 1 John 1:5 tells us that God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. People shouldn’t be able to spot similarities between us and those who don’t know Christ; those who are still in darkness. If they do, then we are not lighting up our world. We are not showing that Jesus, the Light, can actually save people from sin and put an end to the darkness that wants to destroy them. The world is eagerly watching and waiting to see what we will do when the tempter comes knocking at our doors. Every time we conquer sin, say no to temptation, we light up our world; we give hope to those struggling with particular sins and weaknesses, we give people a reason to give God glory, we point people to a living God and Saviour that can change and transform lives and redeem those whose destines are being bruised and battered by sin. Our greatest testimony as children of light is not getting married, having a child, an American visa, or a house in Banana Island or any of the most expensive places to own properties. Our greatest testimony is that we manifest the victory we have in Christ Jesus over sin. When we let our light shine, people look at us and they don’t see a people plunged and engulfed in sin. No, they see amazing changes taking place in our lives, they see God’s power to break the hold of sin no matter how strong the hold. Most importantly, letting our light shine out of the darkness of sin means that on the last day, God will reward us for daring to be different, for refusing to stray off the narrow road of godly living, for living for His glory; for lighting up our world.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gian D. on Unsplash