Credit: Pablo Heimplatz

‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ – Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)


You are Light – written by Simon Dunsmore, MAF UK

Probably like me, you will have read or heard this Scripture many times. If you’re anything like me, your attention will likely be drawn to verse 16. We are supposed to be doing good works and walking in such a way that people see rather than hear about our God.

The flicker…

Francis of Assisi once said, ‘Preach the Gospel and, if you absolutely have to, use words.’ Makes perfect sense, right – easy. Have you ever sat in church, raised your hands in worship, prayed fervently, and ‘amened’ through the sermon? Then you drive home and some moron cuts in front of you at a junction and you shine brighter than ever?

When I was in India, my girls called me Basil Fawlty – I had a John Cleese anointing. Not to make people laugh but because, after about three months of living in a very different culture, I was at breaking point. It would take very little to cause me to explode!

It’s not easy, is it? Keeping up this constant light; it’s like being a glow-worm and constantly working to glow!

The spark…

In Romans 7:15-20, it says: ‘I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So, I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.’

Romans 8 goes on to say: ‘There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but the spirit.’

In other words, between Romans 7 and 8, Paul had a revelation. And that was simply that the good man he wanted to be was only true if he remained in Christ, by faith. Engrafted into the vine. You see, we are not alone struggling to be light.

But if we read what Jesus actually said, He never told us to be light.

The flame…

Jesus didn’t tell us to go and be the light, He said you ARE the light of the world. What makes us light is not what we do, but the fact that we have THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD living in us. Regardless of whether that light is out in the open where men can see it or is hidden away, we are still light.

So, what is He saying? Is He telling us to go around washing people’s cars, carry shopping, or helping elderly people across the road so that people can see we are Christians?

I don’t believe that is what He meant.

What Jesus meant was that to be light, the Church cannot remain in the church, hidden away; it must be the Church out there. We are not called to separate ourselves from society in case the darkness extinguishes the light, but rather be the light in the darkness.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean standing on a street corner preaching or giving out food to the hungry – although those things are great.

We ARE light. Just you being you in the Lord will bring light.

A lit candle doesn’t need a sign to say that it’s lit. It’s obvious.

The light…

So, in conclusion. The very fact that you are a believer and are being you, the fact that our staff choose to live in difficult countries, is the Church being light. Being out there and being you, trusting that He will, and is, shining through you is all we need to do.

Sometimes that’s easy, and other times it takes sacrifice, like moving your family to South Sudan or PNG. Nevertheless, the light element is down to Jesus.

We can’t try to be light; Jesus said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing, our best works are as filthy rags. Abide and trust that we are light in Him.’

1.     How can you keep your light ignited after leaving church on a Sunday? How can you carry it throughout the week?

2.     Is your trust in the Lord? Is your light coming from Him, or are you trying to create a spark yourself?


Lord, thank You for bringing Your light to our hearts. We trust You to continue illuminating our lives and encouraging us to be beacons in the darkness for others.

We are the light, and may we bring that light with us from Monday through to Sunday. May we not light a lamp and place it under a bowl, but let it shine brightly.

Help us with Your Holy Spirit to do what is right so that others may see the light of the Lord.

In Jesus’ name,



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