How to Stop Snuffing Your Light and Let it Shine – Matthew 5:16
Jesus was the busiest public figure of His time, but He never suffered from burnout nor snuffed out His light. How do we live the same way?
Is my life really an oxymoron? After reading Matthew 5:16, questions started to illuminate my soul as I was trying to find some balance in my life. In Jesus’ most famous sermon, He exhorts His followers by saying, “You are the light of the world…” (Matthew 5:14a) and then in verse 16 we read, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
However, if you are like me I have some questions. One major question is how can I be the light of the world and then turn around and let my light shine if I am always burnt out? Burnout is real, not only in the world but in the church. My father was a pastor for 30 plus years so I had firsthand experience with it. A poll taken in 2018 by Gallup states that nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.
I asked this same question to a group of Christian young adults and more than 80% of them raised their hands, stating that they felt burnout. So, what seems to be the problem?
Jesus was the busiest public figure of His time, but He never suffered from burnout nor snuffed out His light. Jesus must be the model for us in all areas of our lives if we want to obey His command to let our light shine.
The Integrity of Spiritual Covering
I want you to picture a clear incandescent light bulb. Ok, can you see it now? In the very center of that light bulb the silver-looking wire is called the filament. However, it is surrounded and covered by something, right? The glass. Taking that into account, we need to know why the filament is able to emit light once it’s plugged into the socket. I’ll spare you the science details but simply put, the filament is vacuum-sealed inside the glass. If any air touches that wire, it burns out in less than 3 seconds.
In our culture today, we have a huge problem with authority, or you could say "spiritual covering." The bible is clear about authority in Romans 13:1.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (NIV)
I won’t get into politics because that's beside the point. But I believe God is having us look at the last three words in that scripture, “established by God.” We as a people first have to submit to our supreme authority and our covering just as Jesus did. He said, “I do nothing on My own initiative” (John 8:28 NASB). Can we say the same thing?
As we look at the light bulb, the integrity of the glass allows the light to shine and be what it was created to be. Our lights are being snuffed out in the body of Christ because we have walked from under our supreme authority and covering, God Himself. We are making our own decisions and striving to be important, aren’t we? We are starting our ‘own’ businesses, jumping into careers just for the money, living outside our means and everything in between. Question, please be honest here, do we like God’s covering? Family, when we learn to love and submit to His covering, our lights will shine that much brighter, bringing Him all the honor and glory He deserves.
Stay Connected to the Right Source
Sticking with the analogy of the light bulb, we know that a bulb is ineffective and useless if it remains in its packaging. It must be taken out and placed into a socket to receive the source of energy it needs to light up. As Christians, we must understand that our light is the most effective light in the Earth and is the true light. However, we must also realize and come to grips that it’s a borrowed light. In John 8:12 it says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world…'” I love the full story here as Jesus just acquitted the woman who was caught in adultery. The scriptures say he continued to speak to the crowd and Pharisees to tell them that he is the Light of the World. Without Him we would dwindle in our sin, both lifeless and ultimately lightless. Remember, later in John 15:5, Jesus reminds us He is not only the light but also the vine as well, the source of our existence.
One of the main reasons we are snuffing out our light and feel burnt out is because we sometimes stop representing the true source of our light. In our self-promoting generation, we tend to forget where our source really comes from, Jesus.
You see, real light never says, “look at me!” However, the light bulb typically wears the brand name of the one who created it.
Whether it’s G.E. Philips or NxtGen. It always points at the manufacturer of the light. Question is, which brand name (image) are we bearing?
Recognize the Shaking
Have you ever entered a home and you noticed a ceiling fan spinning uncontrollably? Maybe you were like me and had a family member or friend who owned a fan like this. You try to tiptoe around the fan and even duck when walking under it. Why? Because you’ve made up in your mind that that fan was going to go airborne at any moment. Nonetheless, some of these fans had light fixtures attached to them where the light bulbs had burnout because of the constant vibration of the fan.
I questioned an electrician once, curious about the wobbling fan and how to fix them. His response was simple, “it might just be a loose screw.” What I have seen in my own life is that if I have forgotten to root myself in daily devotion with God, I can be the one who would be said to have the “loose screw.” We first have to take responsibility for ourselves, our behaviors and shaky habits, before we point the fingers at others around us. These actions can cause a bright light to be quickly dimmed because of an unstable Christian walk.
Jesus was not double-minded. Yes, the Pharisees and law makers thought He was crazy but in John 5:19 he states, “...I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” (NLT) Jesus is teaching us a valuable lesson here. We need to consult the Father through the Holy Spirit to gain better wisdom and knowledge before acting or reacting in our life. This is actually a more stable approach to life.
Expose Greasy Fingers
I don’t know about you but I have a wonderful mechanic. I mean he is just the best. Now, I might be biased but he is very good. What makes him so good is how much he knows about the auto industry and the parts on different cars. I remember my light bulb went out on my vehicle and he started to give me a lesson on halogen light bulbs. He said something like, “Hey mon” in his Jamaican accent. “Don’t dare touch this here light bulb wit yo’ greasy fingers, no.” I said, ok. He continued, “It will burnout quickly, ya know!” As I went back to do my own research, my mechanic was spot on. The grease may cause the light to become too hot and bam, ‘snuffed’!
Now, I want to get a little personal here. Sometimes our lives are a type and shadow of greasy fingers. We are caught up in pornography like I was, or other types of sexually immoral acts. Other grease areas could be lying, stealing, cheating, even bitterness and unforgiveness. You see, grease leaves dirty stains that not only end up on you, but those you are involved with or have offended. These actions will cause your light not only to be snuffed out but the enemy will tell you to hide your light (under a basket) in your shame and guilt, trying to keep you oppressed in sin.
However, I have some good news. Jesus came so all of our greasy past and current greasy lifestyles can be wiped away clean. Pauls encourages us in 2 Corinthians 6:2 that, “today is the day of salvation.” We can repent today, which means to turn away from our broken past moving towards the Father for our future. I’ll end with 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV).
I want to offer you an invitation. If you felt the need to come back home to the Father today, and you have a desire to shine your light for Jesus again, or for the very first time, please say this prayer with me...
thank you for Your Son, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. I repent of my sins and I turn back to You. I believe Jesus came to Earth, died, was buried, rose on the 3rd day and is now seated on Your right side. Thank You for Your forgiveness. I ask for the comfort of Your sweet Holy Spirit to guide me in my daily walk.
In Your Name I pray,
Congratulations. Welcome to the Family!
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Riccardo Mion
Damien K. H. Nash is an Award-Winning Certified Growth Coach and the author of #CompletelySingle and the co-author of #CompletelyMarried. In 2019, he married his wife Kenady Nash. Kenady is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in the state of Georgia. Damien and Kenady believe their purpose is to help people become healthy individuals and cultivate healthy relationships. Their YouTube Channel: “Damien and Kenady” is used to deliver content that supports this passion. Together, they enjoy traveling, speaking and dining at new restaurants. (Head over to claim a free book titled: How To Load Your Truck @ www.damienandkenady.com.)