As I Journey Through the New Testament (keeping a bullet journal from each day’s reading), I see old truths in a “new light” (so to speak). Because the study is set up chronologically, we are reading about the events from the gospels one after another—in other words, we may read Matthew’s account of an event during Jesus’ ministry and then the next day, Luke’s account of the same event. I have heard/studied a lot in the past about the “parallels of the gospels,” but the consistency from the different inspired writers has never been so clear to me as in this time of reading the accounts from each gospel book, one after the other.
Last week one of our readings was the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most-often quoted passage being “The Beatitudes” from Matthew 5. In that chapter, after all the “blessed-are” statements, Jesus tells his followers that they (we) are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. For art in my Bible, I had in my mind an image of a light bulb, but when I searched for images of a light bulb, this one, with the “world” inside the bulb, got my attention. So I decided to use it to illustrate this page in my KJV journaling Bible (it’s the “big” one!).
I have been a Christ-follower since the age of 8 and have read this passage many times. It’s amazing to me how the Holy Spirit can show me new truths in a passage I have read so many times. When I say “new truths,” of course, I mean “new to me.” I don’t purport to have any huge new insight that no one has ever seen before. But, for me, a new thing that comes to my mind is that because I am a child of God, I already have a light inside me--the light of the Holy Spirit is ever-present. I suppose the question, then, is not whether or not I have a light within. I do. The question for me is this: Is my light shining? So, all the times I’ve read this with a sort of, “Yeah, of course a Christ-follower should be the light of the world…of course I have that light….” But maybe I have not often enough taken it to the next step—is my light shining?
Or is it hidden for whatever reason? Maybe I’m sad. Maybe I’m “down.” Maybe I don’t feel very “brilliant.” Maybe I feel like I don’t have enough light to share? Maybe I feel like the light is on, but no one really comes in the room where I am to even notice that the light is on? But, none of those reasons is good enough for me not to follow the admonition from this passage in Matthew 5:
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
So, in reality, it is my JOB to shine the light. If no one is seeing the light from within me, it’s my problem, it’s my challenge. I am to be living my life in such a way that the light IS visible—it should be shining so brightly, frankly, that people would need sunglasses when they are around me!!
So, my prayerful take-away from this familiar passage is that I take the initiative to shine brightly, even looking for opportunities to “show off” God’s presence within my life.
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