We know that we are supposed to let our lights shine, so that others may see our good works and glorify God. But how do we shine? What is it exactly that we are supposed to do?
That’s a good question. A question for which there isn’t one good answer. But don’t despair, because there are actually an infinite number of good answers!
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a specific list of good works in the Bible? It would be nice if the Bible had said, “Hey, Jesus said to let your light shine! So here are 10 ways to do it! Click here to begin.” Oops, I was mixing up the Bible with those clickbait websites there for a minute. Fortunately, the Bible doesn’t have a whole bunch of ads on each page to try to distract you from its content, unlike those websites that really don’t have much content but still want to make as much money as they can off of you.
And also fortunately, the Bible doesn’t give us a checklist to go by. Because if it did, then everyone would just be checking off the boxes to get their credit and not really paying attention to the real purpose behind it. Sort of like when you go to open house at your child’s school, and they give you a checklist of things to see in all of the classes so that you will go to all of the rooms and not just your child’s room. Once you check off everything on the list, your child gets a prize for having a completed list. And you went to all of the rooms, but not necessarily because of your desire to do so. You were just doing it so that your child could get whatever prize was being offered. What? Your child’s school didn’t do that? My child’s did.
No, Christianity is not set up that way. If we just go through and do things because we feel like someone is making us, or because we want the reward at the end, then we aren’t doing things for the right reason. We should be doing what we do for another reason. The real question changes from “How do we shine?” to “Why do we shine?”
What reason is that? The Bible tells us very simply and plainly in 1 John 4:19: We love because He first loved us. Because God loved us, we should love everyone else. God has done a great thing for us in that he has loved us when we were unlovable, and He has made us His own even though we can do nothing to deserve that. Also, there is nothing that we can do directly for God, because what do you give someone who already has everything? Or what do you do for someone who can already do anything? The answer is that you don’t do anything for Him, but instead you do things because of Him.
Since there is not anything you can do for God, instead you turn and do those things for other people. You love them just as God has loved you, and in doing that you will be letting your light shine for Him. Yes, it really is that simple.
But while the Bible doesn’t specifically list it all out in one place, it is full of ways to shine your light to those that you are around. Start reading, and you will see several examples. Maybe not a list, but instead examples of how other people showed God’s love. The things they did, the words they said, or maybe even the things that they did not do. And more importantly, why they did the things that they did.
We will continue to break it down here in the future, to look at some specific examples, and to see how we can apply that in today’s world.