We are the Light of the World

I just celebrated my favorite day of winter- the winter solstice. Each day now has extra daylight for us to enjoy. ‘Tis also the season of Christmas lights which bring so much joy, warmth, and comfort to these dark days. Life as we know it would not exist without light- physically or spiritually. Jesus not only used the metaphor of light to describe Himself but tells us we are the light of the world as well!

crowd of people all holding up small, lit, taper candles in a darkened space. Title: We are the light of the world- how will you shine?

The Meaning of Light in the Bible

Light is a notable theme throughout the Bible. We see it’s importance right away when God created natural light and called it “good”–it pleased Him! (Genesis 1:3).

Light is also symbolic of holiness and purity in the Bible. “Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” 1 John 2:20.

Light in the Bible also symbolizes knowledge and wisdom. We find the Word of God symbolized as light in Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

God also used light as a physical manifestation of His presence in the Israelite’s desert wanderings (Pillar of Fire) and in the Golden Lampstand “eternal flame” in the Tabernacle.

God is Light

John actually describes God as light- “God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5. I understand the part of God having no darkness (sin), but wonder what exactly does “God is light” mean?

Light is part of His divine nature and signifies His absolute holiness.

Light has vital functions in the growth of all living things, including our physical bodies. It also helps us see where we are going and illuminates any danger in our paths.

God is light because His attributes are the same: He banishes and conquers the darkness of sin, gives us life, shows us the way, and is vital for our eternal life with Him.

Jesus is the Light of the World

Sin broke our beautiful fellowship with God when it entered the world. Physical and spiritual death were now our destiny.

From the beginning, however, God had a plan to conquer this darkness. Jesus, the Light of the World, would come down from heaven, live among us as a human man, and sacrifice Himself for our sins.

His saving grace is indestructible and powerful- He defeated death by His resurrection and dispelled darkness forever.

Light of the World Scripture

John 8:12

Jesus was teaching in the temple and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Notice He said He was “the light of the world,” not “a light.”

He alone is the source of spiritual light- the light of eternal life. His sacrifice destroyed the darkness of sin and death forever. Miraculously, Jesus, the light of the world, now lives within us when we follow Him.

Notice Jesus followed His “I AM” statement with a promise: if we follow Him, we will never walk in darkness.

What Does it Mean to Walk in Darkness?

That doesn’t mean we won’t ever sin.

Walking in darkness is more than that. Biblically speaking, darkness symbolizes spiritual corruption. It is a mind not “set on things above” (Colossians 3:2), but on Satan’s lies.

It is sin without repentance; a lifestyle that allows sin to reign without any thought of God or the consequences of their actions.

You are the Light of the World

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the crowd, “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14a.

He has placed His light into our hearts to give us not only eternal life, but the light of His knowledge and truth. What a gift, but what a responsibility! We, like Jesus, are the light of the world. What do we do with this gift?

He immediately follows up with some explanations of what this means for us:

City on a Hill Bible Verse

“A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” vv14b-16.

Jesus wants us to allow His light within us to shine upon those around us.

Our lives should reflect His light and draw people to Him.

Cities sitting atop hills are prominent parts of the landscape. We can see them for miles around especially in the dark when the lights are shining.

Our faith should likewise be a prominent and noticeable part of our lives.

Jesus asks us not to hide our faith and light by keeping it hidden “under a bowl.” We are to be beacons of light to a world desperate to find their way out of the darkness.

When and where do you hide your light?

Be a Light in the Darkness

It seems the world, now more than ever, needs shining lights to infiltrate the darkness. So how can we be a light to others?

Walk as Children of Light

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8 ESV.

What does this walk look like? Paul gives us a hint right away in verse 9:

“For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” Ephesians 5:8-9.

Our actions and speech need to reflect the Holy Spirit within us-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

young woman with off the shoulder white top and long, slightly curled brown hair smiling while holding a small light. Yellow "light bubbles" float next to her.
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5 Ways to Let Your Light Shine

Through our Words

We need to know His truth and be able to share it with others. When we share, we speak in love, not as a “resounding gong or clanging cymbal.” (I Corinthians 13:1). Our words should not be boastful or proud. Our speech should be full of grace and humility. As we speak, always use “gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Through our Actions

Jesus said, “The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me.” John 10:25. Likewise, let others see His light through our actions.

Cultivate a servant’s heart. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) is a good place to start. Look after the poor, the fatherless, the oppressed, the needy. (Psalm 82:3-4) Share what you have. Look after the orphans and widows. The list is endless.

Through our Attitude

God has given us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Everything we think, say, and do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23) When our hearts swell with His love, we see others as He does.
His compassionate spirit becomes ours. It becomes our desire to shine with mercy and grace and radiate His peace.

Pray to Be a Light for Others

Pray for the opportunity to shine. Ask Him for His vision in healing the world around you.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would renew and transform you to be more like Jesus every day.
Pray to show the Fruit of the Spirit in all your interactions.

Be Authentic– Share your struggles and trials and how your faith sustains you. Seeing your hope and peace amidst sorrows and in difficult situations reflects a bright light on Him, our protector and strength.

You are the Light in the Dark

Jesus is counting on us to be the light in this dark world. He created us to meet the needs of others just as He did. Not only that, but He has given us everything we need to accomplish His mission.

He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) He is counting on us to find those stumbling blindly around in the dark and show them His Light.

My sister and I walked through some water-filled caves in Mexico one year while on vacation. It was an amazing experience. At one point, our guide turned off his flashlight and asked us to be completely silent in the complete darkness and reflect on what it felt like.

This was a darkness our eyes would never get used to; they would never accommodate to see anything around us, no matter how long we were there. It gave me a new appreciation of “darkness.”

We needed light to dispel the darkness in that cave. We literally couldn’t move without it.

The dark is a frightening place to be.

People of Light

We, too, were once stumbling or frozen in the dark. Now we have His light within us, to produce what is pleasing to Him. He gives us His power and strength to use this light and go up against the dark.

Use your God-given talents and His help to go out and shine. He will use what you give for His glory.

Can you think of someone who lives out their faith and shines absolutely radiantly for Christ? I can think of a few blazingly bright stars. Their common thread was their servant oriented and humble nature.

They weren’t CEOs, financially rich, or famous. Don’t you love that God uses anyone with a willing heart? All He is asking is for us to be a shining example of His love. He’ll take care of the rest.

Let Your Light Shine Prayer

Dearest Lord,

Thank you for pulling me out of darkness and into Your Light. Search my heart, O God, and test me for anything that would dim this light within me. Give me confidence and strength to be transformed into a bright and steady light for you. Help me recall your teachings by the power of the Holy Spirit. Give me the words to draw others to you. Give me your eyes to see those around me as you do. Fill me with your grace, mercy, and love so that it overflows to those I meet. I want to shine like a city on a hill for you, O God. To you be all the glory forever! Amen

As we begin a new year, let’s reflect on all He has given us and how we can use it to fulfill His mission. We are the light of the world!



All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Photo Credit: Canva

6 thoughts on “We are the Light of the World”

  1. Hey there! I love your site for the prayer prompts. I tried to click through to subscribe to your newsletter but it doesn’t work. I can’t find any other place to sub. Hope it helps to let you know.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Ann! I want to shine brighter for Him this year 🙂 Thanks for the kind encouragement!

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad it resonated with you too. I have had this message on my calendar to begin 2023 for quite some time. I want to shine brighter for Him! God bless you 🙂

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