Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14, NKJV). His statement here is about much more than just doing ministry. It extends beyond teaching, preaching or passing out tracts. Christ tells us very plainly, “You are the light.” He’s saying, “You are not just a reflection. You’re not a mere conduit. You are a light, and the intensity of your light depends upon the intensity of your walk with me.”
Do you see what the Lord is implying here? The world recognizes those who walk closely with him. Your neighbors or coworkers may not know about your daily communion with Christ, your faith in him, your utter dependence upon him. They do, however, see the light that shines from you because of the life you have with him.
So who exactly are these lights set on a hill? Where do we see them?
They are people not usually found in the limelight. They aren’t among the self-centered, self-promoting people who live for recognition in this world. They are not among those self-important church cliques who pretend to be holy but gossip, murmur and complain.
Through the years, I’ve seen many believers who appear godly but in truth are spiritually lazy. They tell others about their failings and weaknesses, thinking this makes them humble, yet they are quick to judge others. They don’t possess the true, loving, servant-like spirit of Christ. On the contrary, the “light” they have is actually darkness. Jesus says, “If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). Where there is no true transformation from Christ, there can be no light for others. As long as you allow nothing to hinder your life in Christ, though, your light will continue to shine in the darkness.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Jesus is saying, “I have put you on display to the world. People are looking at you because I’ve made you a spectacle. You’re a light that is not meant to be hidden.”
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The reason that we are to let our light shine forth to the world is that God may receive glory.