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Bright and Shining

March 4th, 2009

“Let your light shine before men.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

“The smallest of things that diminish your reflection of Jesus dims the light that is within you.”

My thoughts today are about “bright and shining.”

Ever noticed how some people stand out in a crowd, even without trying to do so?  There are people – you have seen or known them – who attract others. People like them, trust them, want to be around them. They are attractive, not because of a natural or physical attractiveness to which some are superficially attracted, but because of something inward that is different than others.

Their pleasant personality, their even temperament, their joyful countenance, their good naturedness, their quiet graciousness, their grateful spirit – a myriad and mixture of graces that make them a privilege to know and a pleasure to be around. I have a valued friend, Ed, who is a new car dealer. I heard a marvelous compliment about him many years ago that is still as true today. Our mutual friend described him as someone that you wanted to tell people, “I bought my car from Ed!” You valued being somehow connected by reputation to him.

I think Jesus was talking about that kind of people in today’s Bible verse. People who are shining lights in an otherwise drab and colorless world. They are not trying to do so; they just do. I also have seen people that wanted to be seen just for the sake of being seen, noticed in order to be honored. Theirs seems an artificial light, kind of like someone carrying around their own spotlight or writing and reading to others their own press reports. Their light, if it can be called that, seems to repel rather than attract. The light in your life is not to be like that.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NIV. He is the reason you can shine and the result when you do.

You and I are called to be bright and shining, not so that we might be seen, but that in the light of the Christ-life that we live everyday, the One who is the Light within us may be clearly seen through us.  You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. Hold tightly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:15-16 NLT. Anything, even the smallest of things that diminish your reflection of Jesus dims the light that is within you, that’s meant to shine through you. See 1 John 1:5 NLT.

And what is the light that is to shine brightly through you? Neither its nature nor origin is to be found within yourself except, as you are found trusting and residing in Christ. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 NIV. Stay close to the Source.

My prayer for you today is to shine brightly in stark contrast to the darkness around.

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