Author: Shev Mckenzie
As Christians, we are commanded to “let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
To show forth the light of Christ is to display the heart of God in our thoughts, words, and actions. We should all have the desire to shine our light. However, in a dark world, this can feel challenging. Amid these feelings, we should still be encouraged to know that we can do ALL things through Christ. Below are three ways we can shine our light.
1. Fear God, Not Man
A great example of letting go of the fear of man is seen in the story of Esther. Esther’s story shows her growth from a woman who fears approaching the king about the destruction of her people to a woman who makes the bold declaration, "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4). Esther arrived in King Ahasuerus' court chosen for her beauty, and also afraid that she along with her entire nation would die. However, throughout her time in the palace, Esther buried her fear of the king by focusing on the Lord. She knew the call of God was greater than anything else. She spent her time in prayer & fasting and held on to the encouraging words from her uncle Mordecai. This encouraged her to drop fear and stand firm in her identity as a representative of God. In the end, Esther’s inner light shined brighter than her outward beauty. It was her fear of God that led to the saving of a nation.
I have struggled with the fear of man when it came to sharing my voice through writing. At times I would overthink what people would think of my thoughts or I would fear that I would offend when sharing God's truth. It is only by sticking close to Jesus and reminding myself that He is with me that I rid myself of these fears and truly shine for Him in the way He has called me to.
2. Be Confident That God is With You
If we look at shining our light with the mindset that we are doing so alone, our confidence in shining disappears and fear grows. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is of three young believers who chose to serve God wholeheartedly even if that meant death. Their confidence did not lie in their intelligence or physical strength, but in the assurance of their God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bold enough to hold onto truth amid opposition and confident enough to know that their God was able to deliver them from the fire (Daniel 3). Not only was their God able to deliver them, but He also stood with them in the fire. He stood with them, and He stands with us in the fire also.
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I have also experienced the challenges that come with shining my light. I remember going through a tough season at work due to a co-worker and I not sharing the same values. Even though we did not get along, I had to shine my light by continuing to stay true to who God called me to be and by still showing her love. At first, this seemed hard, but I was encouraged to continue shining my light by reminding myself daily that God would be with me.
3. Bear One Another’s Burdens
The Bible tells us that we should bear one another’s burdens just as Jesus did when He walked on earth. Jesus healed, He forgave, He wept, He prayed, He sacrificed. Jesus sought justice. As we currently confront a health pandemic and racial injustice simultaneously, the need for Christians to shine their light is critical. The same passion that is felt in seeing our nation overcome a deadly disease must be the same felt in completely dismantling racial injustice. As Christians, we cannot choose when to turn our lights on and off. We must strive to understand the experiences that others face in comparison to ourselves (even when uncomfortable). Where there is a lack of understanding, there is a responsibility to educate oneself. Prayer and fasting can be used as a catalyst and in continuance of change; however, this does not mean shying away from an action such as engaging in uncomfortable conversations that help bring understanding. Christians must not silence the voices of their Black brothers and sisters as they share their truth about racial injustice. To ignore or turn a blind eye is to break the commandment of loving our brother as we love ourselves. In Scripture, we are reminded, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it." We must all shine our light at this time, and “let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
In closing, a scripture that my high school English teacher left in my yearbook always comes to mind when I think about the power we have in shining our light:
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7-8).
When we choose to shine our light, it is never for us, but all for the glory of God!
Shev Mckenzie is a Christian who loves sharing God's truth, especially through writing. Shev resides in New York with her husband. She works as a Health Education Specialist at a cancer center in Manhattan. Shev likes to spend her time traveling, finding good reads, creating new meals found on Pinterest, and making memories with friends and family. Shev is a secretary in her church’s youth ministry. She also enjoys blogging about faith, relationships, and overcoming life challenges. Shev believes that God has called each person to live purposely for Him and wants to please Him in all she does.