Jesus came to bring spiritual light to the world of spiritual darkness. He is the light of the world.
John 8:12 Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
It’s terribly dark out there today. We have millions upon million of Christians living today but are they so shining their light that others may see and know it’s Jesus Christ who is the source of that light? Do you remember what Jesus told us about us and what we are to do with the light he’s shined upon us?
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus equated letting our light shine to us doing ‘good works’ in this world. The purpose of those good works is to enlighten others about our Father God and to glorify him, not ourselves. This is totally selfless service for the good of others that the knowledge of God may go forth as he draws people unto himself.
Are you letting your light so shine? Are you doing good works that others can see and glorify God for?
The Cultural Christian
There is a phrase being circulated that shows the difference between a Christian who does let his light so shine and those who do not. The term is called ‘cultural Christian.’ A cultural Christian is one who does admit and even declare he is a Christian, but that’s as far as it goes in terms of good works in this world that glorify God.
Here’s a simple example of a cultural Christian in dialogue with someone he meets.
Stranger: “I’ve been reading about the middle east and boy, those Jews ought to let the Palestinians have their own homeland — that would solve everything over there.”
Cultural Christian: “It is really a mess over there. I think both sides have their points though.”
Stranger: “So you’re in support of the Jews?”
Cultural Christian: “Well, I’m a Christian, but not Jewish. What’s the weather supposed to be tomorrow?”
As you can see, the stranger is engaging the cultural Christian in dialogue about something spiritual in nature, but the cultural Christian is either bankrupt of true knowledge or is reluctant to speak the truth in love. He admits he is Christian but that’s about it. Let’s talk about the weather instead.
Look at this definition of “cultural Christian” in Wikipedia:
A cultural Christian is a secular or nonreligious individual, or one who is religious but who does not identify with Christian Theology, who still significantly identifies with Christian culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up.
Is that what Jesus is looking for? I think not.
In contrast, look at this definition of Christian fundamentalism from Wikipedia:
Christian fundamentalism is a movement that began in the late 19th- and early 20th-century among British and American Protestants. It was a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism. Fundamentalists argued that 19th century modernist theologians had misinterpreted or rejected certain doctrines, especially biblical inerrancy, which evangelicals viewed as the fundamentals of Christian faith. A few scholars regard Catholics who reject modern theology in favor of more traditional doctrines as fundamentalists. Scholars debate how much the terms “evangelical” and “fundamentalist” are synonymous.
Now which definition is more suited to Biblical truth? Obviously, if you want to let your light so shine, Christian fundamentalism is the preferred approach.
Fundamentalism has taken on a negative connotation in most people’s minds because it threatens them and takes them out of their comfort zone. A fundamentalist is someone who ‘takes the Bible literally’ as they say, and they think that is something to be feared.
Being fundamentalist has little to do with taking the Bible literally. Do I take the Bible literally? Of course I do — those passages that are to be taken literally, I accept as literal truth; those passages that are to be taken figuratively, I accept as figures of speech and I learn the underlying truth being conveyed. The Bible is not completely literal or completely figurative, it is a mixture. To even say someone takes the Bible literally is a misnomer — what is really being said is, “He believes what the Bible says and he acts upon it.” That is what they mean by taking the Bible ‘literally.’
Are you a cultural Christian — a Christian in name only — or a true Christian — one who believes the Bible and acts upon what it teaches? Are you filled with the light of God’s Word so you can indeed let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God — or are you still in spiritual darkness even though you call yourself a Christian?
Let Your Light So Shine
Now is the time to get honest with yourself and with God and our Lord Jesus Christ. God is serious about the coming new world and the destruction of this one. Things will not stay the same much longer, and the time that we stand before our Lord Jesus Christ at his judgment seat is fast approaching.
If you are a cultural Christian, be willing to admit it and to take the steps you need to become a believing Christian. Become one who receives God’s Word with meekness so that it may fill you with light and build you up so that you can indeed let your light so shine before men that they glorify God for your good works in his name.