The Source of Our Good Works
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Of Christ it is written: “ In him was life; and the life was the light of men”(John 1:4). The Divine life gave out a Divine light.
Of His disciples, Christ said: “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, it shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Christ is our life and light. When it is said to us, “Let your light shine,” the deepest meaning is, Let Christ, who dwells in you, shine. As you do your gd works in the power of His life, your light shines out to all who see you. And because Christ in you is your light, your works- however humble and feeble they be- can carry with the, a power of Divine conviction. The measure of the Divine power which works them in you will be the measure of the power working in those who see them.
Give way, O child of God, to the life and light of Christ dwelling in you, and men will see in all your good works that for which they will glorify your Father which is in heaven.
As needful as that the sun shines every day- yes, more so- is it that every believer lets his light shine before men. For this we have been created anew in Christ, to hold forth the Word of Life, as lights in the world. Christ needs you urgently to let His light shine through you. Pershing men around you need your light, if they are to find their way to God. God needs you to let His glory be seen through you.
As wholly as a lamp is given up to lighting a room, every believer ought to give himself up to be the light of a dark world.
Every light whether it is a flashlight, a headlight, a lantern, or the bulb screwed into a socket cannot shine by its own power. Whether it is powered by a battery or oil in a reservoir or the electricity generated by water or other means, the lightbulb can only glow when it is connected to these outside sources. In the same way, we can only become the lights that shine in spiritual darkness when we are powered by the external power of God. The Bible teaches that there are “none good, no not one,” and therefore for someone to do “good works” we must conclude that anything good only comes from God. It may be true that when we see a light shining that we think about the bulb, it unless that bulb or lantern is tapped into a source of power it cannot shine and neither can we show Christ unless we are connected to Him. Further, w know that when the power goes off, the batteries die, and the oil runs out, the light can no longer shine. We observe that as the batteries are losing their charge, the light becomes dimmer and dimmer until it finally dies. When the oil is depleted, the wick will. Even to smoke and the light grows dim and eventually goes out.
We, as believers can only shine as God empowers us to do so and the brightness of our light and the glory of our witness in in direct proportion to our connection with God and the level of fullness of Christ dwelling in us. We in cooperation with the Holy Spirit allow Him to cleanse us for even if the batteries are fully charged, if the lenses of the light are dirty, the light shining forth remains dim.
The beauty of our relationship with God is that He first gives us a light to shine. The Bible teaches that before we receive Christ as our Savior, that we are in darkness and that our works are the works of darkness. I don’t mean that all we do is wrong or sinful but the truth is that even moral deeds and decent conduct is often tainted with wrong motives and attitudes for the inner heart is in darkness. Then that blessed day comes when our hearts open up to the glorious light of heaven, Jesus Christ. When He makes His dwelling with us, we begin to see the darkness in our hearts and cry out for more of His life and light. As Christ shines into our hearts, we see things that were hidden to us before and we begin to recognize the sinfulness of our lives. Things not noticed or visible become glaring flaws in the light of Christ.
When I worked as a contractor and we hung and finished drywall, in natural light the seams often appeared nice and smooth, but as soon as I shined a powerful light along those seams, every flaw an imperfection appeared and in that light I could then finish the seam to perfection. In this same way, as the light of shine upon us, our flaws appear, but thanks be to God, the glorious Carpenter doesn’t just reveal the flaws, He fixes them until we come into the “fullness of the stature of Christ.”
Not only does God provide the light, He also provides the source of power so that our light can shine. He does this through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the more we have of the Spirit, the brighter our lights shine.
Jesus, as He gathers with the disciples just before ascending to heaven gives them and us these words:
and said, “And so it is written, that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance [necessary] for forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”
While being together and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Of which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.” 8 But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”
Do you see that the power to let our lights shine is none other than the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. I’m sure we’ve noticed that there are some who have brighter lights than others and that is due to the measure of the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Again Scripture speaks to this:
And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately]. Then Peter, filled with [the power of] the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people [members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court], if we are being put on trial today [to interrogate us] for a good deed done to [benefit] a disabled man, as to how this man has been restored to health, let it be known and clearly understood by all of you, and by all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you [demanded be] crucified [by the Romans and], whom God raised from the dead—in this name [that is, by the authority and power of Jesus] this man stands here before you in good health. And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage.
Notice that each of these verses speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit. If we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then it can be concluded that at times we must not e fully filled with the Spirit. If you read carefully you will also notice that the believers were filled more than once. It was not a once in a lifetime experience for them and it is not so for us either. We, like the lantern must constantly have our supply of oil renewed and like the flashlight have our batteries recharged so that our lights may shine powerfully. We must also constantly be cleansed just as the lenses and globe of natural lights must be shined.
Finally, we should know that every light is designed to shine. It is in its nature to do so. There is no struggle, no striving to attain to becoming a light, it is a light because that is what it was made to be. Therefore, as Christians, we do not struggle to shine our lights or to force ourselves to do good works, they are the automatic and natural outflow from our relationship with God through Christ. If Christ is the light of the world, and He is, then if He dwells in us as believers, and He does, then our lights have no choice but to shine. Our only effort in the matter is that of fully surrendering all our hearts to the Holy Spirit and being filled with Him and in the fullness of His power our lights shine brightly in every word and deed and so Christ and the Father are glorified and revealed to those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah says it this way:
The people who walk in [spiritual] darkness Will see a great Light; Those who live in the dark land, The Light will shine on them.
Matthew in his introduction of Christ repeats the words of Isaiah:
“ The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee [in the district] of the Gentiles — “ The people who were sitting (living) in [spiritual] darkness have seen a great Light, And for those who were sitting (living) in the land and shadow of [spiritual and moral] death , Upon them a Light has dawned .”
So my beloved believer, let us come before the throne of grace, let us beseech the Holy Spirit for His fullness of power and then let us venture forth in the darkness letting our lights shine so that the Father may be seen and glorified to those who sit in darkness. Let us cease the futile attempt of doing good works in our own power and cast ourselves on the mercy of the Light of heaven and let His light shine through us as it is powered by the Holy Spirit.
Dr. John Thompson