Is Your Light Shining?

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”  Most of us have heard this song at some point in our lives. If you are not familiar with this song from church, then maybe you recognize it from the opening scene of the movie “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, where the young Tina Turner belts it out during choir practice. Wherever you may have encountered this song, the lyrics have become a part of the American vernacular.  Recently, I was having a conversation with a co-worker who is a follower of Jesus Christ that reminded me of this old song.

We were discussing the Christian’s responsibility in their work environment to represent the character and nature of Jesus in all that we do.  We both try to live in a way that positively impacts our environment, attempting to live a sermon rather than give one.  My co-worker made the point that she sees her work environment as her mission field.  While it may not be in some far off land she has the ability to make an impact for Christ every day that she enters her office.  Later, when reflecting on the conversation, it brought to mind that old song about letting our light shine.  While considering the lyrics, it sparked a few questions that I believe we should all consider as we head down the path of self-evaluation: Are we letting our light shine?  Are we doing all that we can to be an intentional light to the world around us?

First, what is this light and where did it come from?  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (New English Translation)

 For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the One who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ. 

The scripture confirms that every believer in Jesus Christ has a light that Paul identifies as coming from Christ “who is the One who shined in our hearts”.  We also discover that this light has two purposes.

  • This light shines out of darkness to be seen externally by the world around us
  • It gives each of us the “glorious knowledge of God” which we find in the face of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This light not only illuminates outwardly for the world to see but illuminates our very understanding, providing us with an enlightened view of who God is through His Son.

Now that we have and understanding of the origin of this “light”, what then is our responsibility to this gift we have been given?  In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus provides us with a better understanding of this lights purpose:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Here, we are described as the “light of the world”. Our light shines brightest in the darkest situations illuminating places where the darkness is most pervasive in the world in which we live.  We are called to shine so brightly that we are compared to “a city that is set on a hill which cannot be hidden”.  This light was created to be a beacon to the lost of this world so they would have a clear view of the path that leads to salvation.  Unfortunately, all too often this light that was designed to shine forth, is foolishly hidden away and not given the prominence in our lives for which it was created.  This light was meant to be put on a “lampstand so it gives light to all in the house”.  This illumination was not created to bring praise to the individual but so that men may be able to clearly see our good works that have been inspired by the light that He has placed in each of us.  This will lead to the glorification of our Father in heaven who is the giver of this marvelous light.

Now to the final, most compelling question. Are we letting our light shine?  This is not a question that anyone can answer for you.  You must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and your motives. Too often we hide behind past efforts or our busy lives as excuses for not allowing the light of Christ to shine from our hearts. Some of us only want to do large sweeping gestures that we believe will have a significant impact and neglect the small things that we each can do every day to be a blessing to those around us.


As I take the time to consider my life, there is more that I can do to allow the light of Christ to shine in such a way that people are drawn to the Spirit that lives in me.  We must all be willing to examine our hearts to determine if we are intentional in our approach to how we live your lives.  I am not advocating allowing your emotions to get involved in how you allow Christ’s light to shine in your life and pushing you to take on more than you can handle, be it with your time or resources.

Don’t confuse a good idea with a God idea.

Choose to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and let Him show you the best way to allow your light to shine forth in a dark world.  The songwriter made a strong point in encouraging us to let our light shine. Remember that a small light shines brightest in the darkest places.  Choose today to let your little light shine so that people will seek to know the source of such a bright light that shines from within you.

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