The radiance of simple goodness


lightshine“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” we sang the words, while holding up our index finger like a candle, urged on by our Sunday School Director.  When I was 5 years of age, I was not really sure what it meant to ‘let it shine’ but it seemed like a good thing to do since Mrs. McDaniel was so enthusiastic about it.

Our song wasn’t about our brilliance.  We weren’t being encouraged to make a great impression with our accomplishments, or to build a powerful image of invincibility, or to dazzle others with our success. We were taking up the call of Jesus Who said, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16, NLT)  We shine as we love and care in the name of Jesus Christ! Simple as the little song, isn’t it?

“Letting it shine’ is about consistently doing what He teaches me to do in the Gospels. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” Perhaps we should sing it in church today? This world needs the Light – desperately. Darkness swallows too many lives. Greed blinds so many to real wealth. The filth of pornography, a $billions business, darkens God’s gift of sexuality. Rape and murder are so common in some neighborhoods the news does not even report it any longer; darkness indeed! Boasters, braggarts, crooks, and thieves are made heroes in our entertainment; the good and whole mocked as naïve.  Yet, Jesus says that there is a radiance that shines into these dark corners from Christians committed to being good– loving, kind, humble, serving, generous, encouraging, authentic. Ah, yes, my light, by itself, seems pitifully small but when combined with millions of lights, we can light up the world! Believe it.

Ten years ago, Lee Strobel, described his visit to a Billy Graham crusade in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The evangelist, then 86, was helped from his walker to the pulpit where he delivered the Gospel, just as he has for a half century! Strobel wondered why his light shone so brightly. Among his conclusions: “His behavior is consistent with his beliefs… the man is genuine… he is a man without shadows.” – (Outreach Magazine, March/April, 2005) Unlike so many high profile Christians, Graham has never been discredited by financial shenanigans, by sexual escapades, or by pandering to the crowd with prosperity promises. There are no ‘yes, but…’ parts to Billy Graham “A man without shadows…” what a description! Graham was and is simply a servant of Jesus Christ, not perfect, but authentic. He is a living example of ‘letting your good deeds shine out for all to see.’

Want to be a light to your world?   Know this:  we only reflect the True Light. Like the moon that has no radiance of its own, we reflect the Glory of the Son. Jesus is the Light of the World. His radiance, like the light of the sun, makes life possible, gives a kind of energy to the world, and allows us to see our way clearly. Does it shine from you, Christian? Is there a wholeness and holiness about you that lets the Radiance of Christ reflect brightly into the lives of your family, friends, and partners at work?

Here is a word from the Word. May the truth help you see the glorious mission and destiny God has for you – to be a light in dark places.  “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7, NLT)


Shine, Jesus, Shine

Lord, the light of Your love is shining,
In the midst of the darkness shining.
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us.
Shine on me, shine on me.

 Lord, I come to Your awesome presence
From the shadows into Your radiance.
By the blood, may I enter Your brightness.
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, shine on me.

 As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness,
Ever changing from glory to glory.
Mirrored here, may our lives tell Your story.
Shine on me, shine on me.

 Shine, Jesus, shine!
Fill this land
With the Father’s glory!
Blaze, Spirit, blaze!
Set our hearts on fire!
Flow, river, flow!
Flood the nations
With grace and mercy!
Send forth Your word, Lord,
And let there be light!

Graham Kendrick © 1987 Make Way Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

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