By Gerald Cowan
Everything a Christian says and does must be designed to lead others to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31-32). There is nothing about the Christian life that is neutral or unimportant. In everything a Christian does he is to be “the light of the world,” a light that is not hidden. He is told, “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:14-16). Notice that Jesus does not beg his disciples to become lights in the world. He merely states a fact: you are lights in the world (compare also Phil. 2:15-16). We ought to understand these words to mean, “If you are truly my disciples (John 8:31) you are the light of the world.” There can be a great difference, you know, between Christians and professed Christians. God used the obedient examples, the piety and good works of the true disciples of Christ to enlighten the world. Christians are living examples of what God can do with a person’s life.
Jesus does not mean that we should try to impress people with our own righteousness and good works. But he reminds us that no one is really invisible. If one lives for God, others will see it. If one lives without God, that will be apparent too. When a person becomes a Christian he is committed to a new way of life. Changes become obvious in his attitudes – especially toward other people, in his sense of values, and in his use of his time, energy, money and other resources. In many other ways he will be visibly and conspicuously different. Not because he is trying to attract attention to himself, but only because God calls Christians to be obedient to Him in ways that cannot easily be kept hidden from others. You cannot hide a city that is built on a hillside, and you cannot hide the kind of obedience that God requires of all followers of Jesus Christ. So do not try to hide. Just go on and shine!
Others will be impressed by your life. When they know that it is obedience to God that makes the difference they will glorify God for your good example. They may not become Christians themselves, but they will give God credit for your improvement. And no doubt there will be some, encouraged by your faith in God and your trust in His promises, who will place their own lives in God’s hands too.
You are the light of the world, the light the world needs to see, if you are a Christian, because when the world looks at you the world sees God.