This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine! How many of us have heard or sung (or even done the motions to) that familiar children's chorus? Yeah, I see you nodding your head! It's a fun one to sing. But when you get past the upbeat message and catchy tune, how many of us have actually stopped and considered what it means? Really. What does it mean to let your light shine? And when you do shine, who do people actually see?
Like many people, I'm striving to continually grow into a less-of-me-and-more-of-HIM love relationship with Jesus. It's my desire for Him to be seen when I shine. I want to be the spotlight as HE takes centre stage. That's what I want. But how often do I actually live it?
In one of his most beautiful worship songs, the late singer/songwriter, Keith Green, wrote of his desire to shine the light of Jesus to the world. However, it is the words from the chorus that have always made me catch my breath. In "Make My Life a Prayer", Keith Green wrote,
Well I wanna thank You now
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
"It's so hard to see when my eyes are on me." It's true. And let's be honest, even when we're consciously focused on following God's lead, our eyes tend to stray to the nearest mirror. And just like the Fun House mirrors at the circus, our perception of our own importance is often a distorted one. In the Bible, Jeremiah bluntly stated that we "have been deceived...by [our] own pride."
In the book of first John, the warning goes even further.
"Practically everything that goes on in the world - wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father." - 1 John 2:16
Ouch. So... how do we go about sharpening our vision and removing our world-coloured glasses? Good question. That's where the "Light" comes in. Just look at Paul's words in the book of Ephesians:
"...that you might grow in your knowledge of God...By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you." - Ephesians 1:18
Ah, there's the connection! Our eyes and His Light. Only as we are flooded, saturated, overflowing with His Light, His Power, His Glory, will we truly shine Jesus. And make no mistake; it's not a one-time deal. Every day I must throw open my soul's blinds and allow His light to pour in. The Psalmist put it well when he said,
"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life." - Psalm 143:8
To You I entrust my life. Sobering... yet not scary. For if we know Him, we know He's trustworthy. I love the line from the old hymn, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," where we're reminded, "morning by morning new mercies I see." There's that vision-thing again. To grow in knowledge...understand the hope...entrust my life...have the eyes of my heart flooded with light. It all works together.
In his devotional paraphrase of God's Word, Eugene Peterson stated Paul's words in Romans 12 in this way...
"The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him." - Romans 12:3 (The Message)
As I daily invite God's Spirit to adjust my focus away from me and onto Him, the resulting radiance will be undeniably divine. And that's the bottom line.
This little light of mine. Only when I shine with His Light will my little light shine so brightly that even hiding it under a bushel won't contain it!
Let it shine...let it shine...let it shine!