**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 5:14-16
This was a tough one for me because my thoughts first went to this passage...Matthew 6:1-6...which at first glance seems to contradict what Jesus says about letting our lights shine for all to see. Are we supposed to do good (the light) for everyone to see, or are we supposed to do good in private so that only God can see. The more I studied this, and looked into other reference material, the more I realized that Jesus is dealing with two separate issues in each of the passages. Read this...
Jewish tradition considered Israel (Isa_42:6; Isa_49:6) and Jerusalem (as well as God and the *law) the light of the world. The “city” here may thus be Jerusalem; or it may be any elevated city at night, whose torch lights would make it visible to the surrounding countryside. IVP Bible Background Commentary
Here we learn the general understanding of the time was that Israel, God and the Law were considered the light of the world. Jesus may very well have been dealing with the issue of Israel keeping the light (their purpose-to share God and the Law with the world) to themselves. Israel was not sharing their light as it was intended. They were making it so hard to see, hiding it behind traditions and man made requirements, that no one was able to benefit from the light. Jesus is using the example of a light. In those days the most common source of light in a home would have been a candle. A weak source that they would have been sure to put as high up as possible to gain the most benefit from the light.
This in itself is an interesting point...it is the upward source (God) that makes the light work. If we try to keep the light to ourselves (down low or under a basket) we become the source and it loses all of it's power. It is important for us, as Christians and followers of Jesus, to always remember who it is that gives us the light. We don't have any power of our own that allows us to suddenly become light sources. Many men have tried to be a source of "new" light...but it was really just their own light.
Jesus does go on to ask us to let our good deeds shine ...
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
...but note, in the second half of the sentence, why the light is shining from us. Not so everyone will praise us, but so that everyone will praise the Father.
If I am a changed man after becoming a Christian, then I shouldn't I have a new light? If I have changed because of God, shouldn't I give Him the credit for that change.
If people are praising you for your great wisdom or good deeds....if they are noticing that you are a changed person....it is important that you be sure to give credit where credit is due. Pride can and will try to settle into your heart, so, in your heart you must always remember who has given you ANYTHING worthy of praise.
This is another passage where we could spend so much time learning from the master. Really study this, question your own motives in how and why you do the things you do. Ask God to cleanse your heart of pride and see the changes that HE has accomplished in you.
Thank you for all that you give Lord, especially the changed lives. I think of where I have been and where You are taking me and I want so badly to be a usable light. I commit my life to You today Lord. Use me in anyway that You can and help me to be that good light held up high.
Please keep my family safe today Lord, in their travels. Help us to have a good time today as we fellowship in your Holy Day of Rest. Thank you for the Sabbath and for loving us so much.
Watch over my daughter Lord, and please bring her back to You.
Please help those people on my prayer list. Many of them I do not know personally, but I know that You do. I ask that You help them and heal them.
Be with me today Lord and shine through me....I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.