- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On January 31, 2017
- 95 Comments
I love the Book of Matthew. It is my favourite among the Gospels, probably because it contains many of the teachings of Jesus. Of course, a teacher like me will feel right at home with a book like that.
I also love the fact that Matthew strived more than the other Gospel writers to show that the birth of Jesus and the things He said and did in the course of His ministry were a fulfilment of prophecy.
There are many passages of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew and one that covers three long chapters (5-7), called the Sermon on the Mount, contains many of His popular declarations like the Beatitudes. In them, He shows the true meaning of blessedness and follows that up with the role of the believer in a decaying and darkened world. Our focus here will be on the latter.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
The analogy the Lord draws is apt. In a world darkened by the corruption of sin, the believer is to be a light. In a world befuddled by the chaos and confusion that rebellion to divine order spawns, the believer is to be a spiritual and moral compass showing people the way.
But many a believer seems just as lost as the rest of the world. Many believers seem to be groping in the darkness unable to find their own way much less guide others. Or they seem to be leading their followers into a ditch because the light of God in them is covered. So what are some of the things that can cover a believer’s light?Jesus says we are the light of the world. But is your light hidden? Click To Tweet
3 THINGS THAT CAN COVER A BELIEVER’S LIGHT
1. Neglect of the word of God: Many Christians have not developed the discipline of reading and studying their Bible constantly. No wonder they seem to be leaving the road to wander around in the bush.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105
We need to form the habit of reading our Bible through once every year, the entire Bible, not just the parts we choose. When we do this in a devotional manner (i.e. under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), it changes our perception and helps us to see things more clearly.
While reading books by Christian authors, listening to Christian music and sermons is good, none of that should take the place of direct exposure to the word of God for our personal benefit. There are two beautiful verses in the book of Proverbs that expound on the relevance of the word of God to us as a light and here they are:
“When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” – Proverbs 6:22 & 23.Nothing should replace direct exposure to the word of God for our benefit. Click To Tweet
2. Seeking worldly approval: Many believers are yet to have the truth that we are in the world but we are not of the world, as the Lord Jesus affirmed in John 17:14-16, fully sink into them. They are struggling to please the world and live according to its standards. This is a violation of the word of God and steeps us in the very darkness we are to shine our light on.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Historically, the desire to fit in was the bane of the children of Israel. God gave stiff warnings about this but the attraction of being like others prevailed and they ended up in captivity.
“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – Leviticus 20:26
While we cannot avoid unbelievers as long as we are in the world, it is unwise to make them our best friends and aspire to please them more than God.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14It is unwise to strive to please the world rather than God. #quote Click To Tweet
3. Fear of persecution: Believers sometimes hide their light to “protect” themselves. We may fear standing out because it exposes us to ridicule and persecution but that is part of what it means to be a child of God in a world where evil predominates. However, the Lord Jesus promises to be with us through it all.
” … lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:20It is better to shine our light than cover it in fear and incur God's wrath. #quote Click To Tweet
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. … The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? … And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:22, 24, 25, 28
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25
So next time, someone castigates or threatens to punish you for holding Biblical views, don’t apologise but respond like the apostles when the Jews warned them to desist from preaching in the name of Jesus.
“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.'” – Acts 4:19 -20
I feel like high-fiving these brothers and shouting, “Way to go!” May God grant us the courage to do like them always in Jesus’ name.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Bible except where otherwise stated.
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