By Adam Faughn
Descriptions of God that have to do with light are found throughout Scripture. The most direct--which we noticed in last week's sermon--is in 1 John 1:5, where the text simply states, "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." The majesty and holiness of God are clearly in view when we think of the comparison of God as light.
Taking that picture further, though, we are told to share that light with the world. Jesus stated, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). It might be helpful for us to remember that the light we are to shine before others is really God's light, and we are seeking to "reflect" it to the world.
At times, however, we fail to do that. In fact, if we are not careful, we can even block God's light by the way we live.
The story is told of Alexander the Great returning home after conquering a tremendous amount of the known world. He wanted to report the news to his teacher, the philosopher Aristotle. Upon returning home, he was told that Aristotle was taking a bath, but that did not stop Alexander, who went right up to where his teacher was bathing.
In his excitement, it is said that Alexander said something along these lines to his teacher: "Teacher, I have conquered the world. I am ready to give you anything you would like. What may I give you?" The wise philosopher, who kept right on bathing, is said to have replied, "Right now, I would like you to stop blocking my light."
Tragically, we can often be like Alexander in that story, so caught up in the things of this world that we forget to stop blocking the light! To be certain we are not blocking God's light from those around us, here are three things we must remove from our lives.
Sin. This would be the most obvious since sin is so often equated in Scripture with darkness, including in 1 John 1:5. When we are openly doing things that go against the will of God, those around us simply will not see His light shining in our lives. If people see me openly using foul language, being cruel to my spouse, or mocking the Church Jesus died for, how would they ever think that I am striving to reflect God's light into the world?
Self-Glory. Our world teaches us to "look out for ol' number one," and we are simply to assume that "number one" is myself. So, we spend our time telling our own exploits and all the things we have done. We talk about all we are helping and the great things we are doing. But Who is left out of the picture? When the attention goes to us, but we do not give the praise and credit to God, how can people glorify Him? Instead, they will glorify us, which is the exact opposite of what it means to truly serve and adore God.
Silence. If people do not hear us praise and honor and give credit to God, are we not blocking His light in the world? Part of shining His light is not being silent concerning what the Lord would have us to do. We dare not be ashamed of His message, and we dare not be ashamed of His way of living. If, however, we are not willing to tell anyone about Him or His ways, we are blocking His light in their life.
Certainly, there will be times when we fail to share God's light perfectly. As people, we often fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and we are not perfectly righteous at all times (Romans 3:10). That said, our aim should always be to draw nearer to Him so that we are more like Him. No matter who we are around, whether we are offline or online, or what our place in life happens to be, we must put forward every possible effort to shine God's light into a very dark world.