Recently, I posted an article that addressed being a disciple of Christ, which explains what being a disciple means precisely. For more detail, please read the article, What is a Follower of Jesus Christ, on this website. This article (the one you are reading) elaborates on a specific characteristic of a disciple. This quality holds the authenticity of disciples, which are being the lights of the world.
What are the Lights of the World?
The lights of the world in the Scriptures are symbolic. Light and darkness are in contrast to each other, and the Scriptures portray the world as dark, sinful, and evil. Because of this sinful state, the world is condemned. Jesus said in John 3:19-20:
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Here we have the contrast between light and darkness, darkness being evil, and hating the light.
Most evil, which is committed in darkness, and the one who is committing the evil, hates the light and will not come into the light because of his evil, sinful deeds that will be exposed.
Jesus continues in verse 21:
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Here we have the other side of the contrast, he that doeth truth.” Truth represents righteousness—doing what is right; the person that does right will come into the light so that his deeds may be known.
Later in the book of John, Jesus states His position in this contrast. In John 8:12, He said,…” I am the light of the world…”
Jesus is the righteous light that came to this dark, condemned world to save it. John 3:17 reads:
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
This verse is why we call Jesus our Lord and Savior; He saves us from the world of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).
When an individual accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior, a transformation from darkness to light takes place. Jesus confirmed this in John 12:46
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. NIV
Those who genuinely believe in Jesus have left Satan’s dark kingdom and influence and have entered the light of God’s kingdom. This transformation is what the born again experience encompasses.
However, many individuals in the church behave as though they continue to remain in darkness. Jesus died so that we might transform from the darkness. If one’s life is not changing, then they may not have genuinely begun to follow the light.
Some individuals attempt to—profess Christ and Christianity yet live without really following Him. For more on this, please read the article, Christianity Without Christ on this website.
But let us look at those who are genuinely following Jesus. We have already seen in John 12:46, where Jesus acknowledges that those who believe in Him will not stay in darkness. Let’s look at another acknowledgment in Matt 5:14-16:
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Because Christians no longer walk in the darkness of the world, they “are the light of the world” as Christ is. Light makes a difference in its surroundings, and it cannot be hidden just as a city on a hill cannot be hidden. As we live for Christ, our lights are to shine in the world and glorify the Father. It should be evident that we are followers of Christ.
The reality of the matter is that even though we’re walking in the light, our lights can get dusty and cloudy. This dust comes from the issues and problems of living in the world. These issue include the corruption, the politics, the crime, the civil unrest, the uncertainty, and of course, the pestilence (e.g., the coronavirus). These things can dim our lights to a glimmer (if we let them).
However, we cannot let our light become dimmed; we must allow our lights to continue to pierce the darkness, no matter how much darkness is around us. The greater the darkness, the brighter the light.
We have Scriptural encouragement and instruction on this in Phil 2:14-15:
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
We are not to murmur, complain, and dispute as the ungodly does. When we do, it makes a poor representation of Christ. We are to be imitators of Christ and walk in love (Eph. 5:1). When we do, we become “blameless and pure.” That does not mean that we will be perfect but above the criticism of the unbelievers.
We are to be comforters, carrying our lights with kind words to encourage and not discourage. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the spiritually weary to a divine resting-place.
The result is we will be held “blameless and harmless”
as children of God in the middle of “a crooked and perverse nation” with our lights shining in the world.
The purpose of this article is to encourage readers to press on in spite of the circumstances we’re living under.
So let us remember what the encouraging Scripture says in Gal 6:9
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. NIV
Remember, we cannot reap a harvest if we give up laboring in the field!
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