“The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.”
Proverbs 13:9 (NIV)
This past Sunday I observed an American couple whose faces beamed as a group of Vietnamese businessmen and women thanked our church for working with them. I did not know this couple but later learned they were missionaries to Vietnam and had made missions their new career just a few years ago.
It was so refreshing and inspiring to see two people who truly love what they do shine the light of Christ for others. Seeing them look so pleased and happy to hear their friend, a businessman from Vietnam, speak heartfelt words of gratitude to the members of our church, was truly a joy. This couple shone brightly, just like the righteous person in Proverbs 13:9.
I’ve always liked any kind of imagery dealing with light – the sun, the moon, the stars, even candles, lamps and Christmas tree lights. There is something special about the brightness and glow of lights of any kind. Light can dispel fear and bring comfort (Psalm 27:1), it can signify a new beginning like the dawn of a new day, and it represents the promise of life and hope through Christ our Savior who is the light of the world (John 8:12).
The righteous shine their light because Christ lives within them and they are obedient to his will. Proverbs 4:18 describes the path of the just as a shining light that begins at dawn and burns increasingly brighter as the day goes on. As we obey God, we are able to see more truth and remain on the light-filled path. Psalm 119:105 tells us God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path. Read his word daily and commit it to heart. Psalm 18:28 reminds us that the Lord lights our lamp and illuminates our darkness. His truth is the oil that keeps our lamp burning. We should trust his word and not our own understanding or the ways of the world.
During one of our closing prayers when I was in a college girl’s Bible study many years ago, I heard a girl pray that we would be lights shining for Christ. I always loved that image and have prayed that prayer daily with my daughter at breakfast time before she would go to school.
Shining the light of Christ is our best witness and should come naturally as we confess sin in our lives, seek God’s direction, obey his commands, and attend to the needs of others.
Jesus tells us to shine our light brightly and not hide it (Matthew 5:14-16). We also learn that disobedience will cause our lamp to be snuffed out (Proverbs 13:9, Proverbs 24:20, Job 18:5). Shining our light is a sign of the life of Christ that is within us and it can offer hope to those around us. So let your light spill out all around you!