“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16
Many of us remember singing the song "This Little Light of Mine" either in Sunday School or VBS. Some of us might even remember the little hand motions to it. As children raised in the church, we learn songs that teach us about God, help us memorize Scripture, warn us about sin, and share the Gospel. I remember many songs, one being "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes". As a child, we don't fully understand the words, it isn't until we are older that these words resonate with us. After years of growing, learning, and experiencing different moments in life, we reflect on the journey. "If I could go back, I would change this..." or "I would give anything to redo this...". Most of the time it is after we have already sinned that we see the importance of what we were taught as children. With life's milestones, society's pressures, and the busyness of day-to-day tasks, we often lose sight of the important things and people. Our childhood innocence, curiosity, and wonder become mudded and fade away. On the off chance we stop to remember our childhood songs and God's Word, we are filled with shame and guilt over how we have wasted so much of our life on unimportant, perishable, and empty things and emotions. That is when the "old times were better" mindset sinks in and we may even become bitter because of our past failures and present circumstances.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! - Matthew 6:22-23
The light we once had in our hearts that shown through our wide eyes and joyful smiles is now dim and covered by the hardness that has started to wrap its poisoned vines around our hearts. As adults, we seem to have it all together, but inside we are breaking day by day, moment by moment. As children we are carefree and honest, expressing ourselves as we feel, but as adults we have mastered the art of caring on a façade. People ask us "how are you today?" and we know they don't really care or want to hear our troubles so we reply with a quick smile "fine, and you?". This is why Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-5). Jesus is telling us that we must be curious, seeking His Word, honest, speaking truth with love, wide-eyed, seeing His blessings, pure-hearted, desiring His will, and humble, loving God first and others next.
For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. - Psalm 18:27-28
Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” - Mark 4:21-23
All children are unique, but they have similarities. 1) they are innocent and naïve; Children are born into this world knowing nothing, they cry easily, and have to be cared for. They trust those who take care of them and see things with clear and pure eyes not seeing the evils a few years on this earth will reveal. 2) they desire to learn and grow; shortly after they start talking they start asking "why", everything is new to them and they want to understand. They are curious by nature. 3) they crave love and attention; children want to be loved and to have your undivided attention. They love showing their artwork or new skills, they want to hear "good job". Don't you want to hear God tell you "well done"? We must crave God and love Him as a child does, with their whole heart and without reservations or doublemindedness. This is behavior and the mindset God desires to see in us. To proclaim His name freely and proudly share His Word with others. Just as a child does not think twice about singing "Jesus Loves Me" or telling people "I love Jesus" we must be bold.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” - Luke 2:30-32
We can't go back and undo the sins we committed, wrong turns we took, or hurts we caused, and God does not want us to dwell on those or be overwhelmed with sorrow, He wants us to look ahead. Even though we can't go back, we can make changes now that will affect our future. We can repent of our sins and leave them with God, knowing He forgives us and so we must forgive ourselves and let it go. If someone brings up your past, remind yourself of the freedom from guilt and shame Jesus' blood has provided for you, and tell the person that you are a new creation, forgiven by God's mercy and grace. When the devil tries to fill your mind with your past, rebuke him in Jesus' name and fill your mind with God's words of love. Remember there is not one person on this earth who has not sinned, the only sinless human was Jesus Christ, God's Son, God in flesh. Therefore, the only one who has the authority to condemn or judge you is God and if you are truly saved Jesus' blood has cleansed you and you are free from condemnation!
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:14-15
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” - John 3:16-21
We can seek God's Word to heal from the wounds we have and restore us from the mistakes we made. We can seek forgiveness from those we hurt and even if they don't forgive us we can forgive ourselves. If you are still alive, God still has work for you to do, it is not over, you are not a lost cause. God wants us focused on the here and now, planning for the future, but living in the moment. Give God your past, seek Him and trust Him right now, and remember the hope you have in the future because of Jesus. Don't let your light be dimmed, don't let your heart become calloused. Let your light shine and let it shine brightly! Be proud of your Savior and King, be bold in your faith, let joy fill your heart, and be confident in your spirit knowing you serve a risen and righteous God.
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. - Matthew 10:27-28
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me (Paul) His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. - 2 Timothy 1:8-12
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. - Philippians 2:14-16
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” - John 8:12
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. - John 1:3-5
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? - Psalm 27:1
For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. - Psalm 36:9
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; - Psalm 43:3a
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted. - Psalm 89:14-16
Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments. - Psalm 119:104-106
come and let us walk in the light of the Lord. - Isaiah 2:5b