Will You Let Your Light Shine?


Many of us learned the song, “This Little Light of Mine” in Sunday school or vacation Bible school when we were small children. The words were repetitive and the tune catchy, so it was easy for even the smallest toddler to learn and remember. It was often taught to us with hand actions. I remember my own children standing on the stage at the front of the church. “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.” Little forefingers pointing straight up as if they were tiny candles with small flames of fire flickering from the tips.

“Hide it under a bushel, No!” A little cupped hand held over the pretend flame of the opposite index finger only to pop off when the word “No!” was yelled out in tiny, yet loud, voices, followed by “I’m gonna let it shine!”

“Won’t let Satan blow it out.” And all those children would “blow out” their candle fingers often covering the children in front of them and the parents in the first row of pews in a germy spray. I’m gonna let it shine!”

“Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes. I’m gonna let it shine.” Little index fingers waving back and forth over heads with great enthusiasm. By the time the children got to this verse of the song, they just wanted it to be over. Their enthusiasm was stemmed by the knowledge they were almost finished, would be dismissed from the stage, and some sort of sweet treat was certainly in the near future. “I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

As parents, we all clapped and applauded our little entertainers. We gave hugs and kisses for jobs well done. And our children smiled from ear to ear knowing they had pleased Mom, Dad, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, and pastor. But did they understand the truth in the words they had been singing? Probably not. As parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, and pastors – did we understand or even consider the truth packed in that little children’s ditty?

After his encounter with the adulterous woman and her accusers, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12, NIV). When we choose to follow Jesus, we step out of darkness and the flame of his light is ignited in us. We should become the light of Christ that draws others to Him. But sometimes we find ourselves timid. We are afraid to let our light shine for a variety of reasons. We are scared of what others will think of us. We look around and see that other followers have a blazing fire for Jesus and our little candle seems so inadequate.

Still, Jesus knows our hearts and encourages us to let our light for him shine no matter our perception of that light. In Matthew 5:14-16, He tells us we are the light of the world. He uses common sense to explain no one lights a lamp and then puts it under a bowl where it cannot be seen. Rather, the lamp is put on a stand where it provides light to everyone in the house.

Something as simple as a smile or a kind word to someone who is sad or hurting is the light that can push back the darkness of sadness and pain. As we grow and mature in our faith, our little light becomes brighter and strong. We become a beacon to those who are newer to faith in Christ. Even though we have endured suffering and hardship in this life, our light perseveres because we know our circumstances in this life cannot overshadow the reward waiting for us. Hebrews 10:36 tells us, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Yes, as followers of Christ, we are called to be light, not only to other believers but also to those who do not know Jesus. The enemy works against us to prevent us from letting our light shine. So great is his hate, he will do all he can to snuff out our light. He will remind us of our past in an attempt to convince us we are not worthy to be light, worldly worries will work to dim our light, and time, suffering and hardship will challenge our endurance. We need to protect and nurture our light in order to keep Satan at bay. Through Scripture, fellowship with other believers, teaching from our leaders, and prayer, we are able to strengthen and grow the flame of our light, and in doing so we become that town on a hill that can’t be hidden. The good we do can be seen by others and our Father in heaven is glorified. (See Matthew 5:14-16).

It may be just an entertaining little children’s song, but it packs a big punch. In a world becoming increasingly dark, each little light becomes more relevant. Will you allow your light to be a beacon to those searching in the darkness? Will your light endure? Will your light glorify your Father in heaven?

Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

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