Each one of us to be a light to the world. But it is also true that we are to be a light through our life together.
Look at Philippians 2:1-16.
In verse 1-4 Paul urges the Philippians to be a beautiful community of light: agree together, work together, love one another, don’t be selfish, don’t show off, put others first. And by the way, we do that! Not perfectly, but that’s who we are. We have a beautiful thing going on in our church communities. Sometimes we just see the faults. But let me tell, there’s nothing else quite like it in our area.
Paul urges them to be a like-minded, loving, selfless community of light and then points them to Jesus. He points them to:
– Jesus our example: giving up his divine glory to become a slave, a human being, to die on the cross. That’s the pattern we’re to follow.
– Jesus our Saviour: humbling himself and dying to save us. And so Paul goes on to tell us to ‘work hard to show the results of your salvation.’ Christ humbled himself and died to make us a community of light so work hard to be a community of light. Don’t complaint, don’t argue, don’t be a community of darkness!
And so we come to verse 15: ‘Live clean, lives as children of God, shining like [stars] in a world full of crooked and perverse people.’
‘Shine like stars.’ We live in a dark world; in a dark and depraved culture. But we are the light of the world. We are the light of God. We shine like stars.
Think again of a dark night in your neighbourhood. On winter evenings, as you walk our cold, dark streets with houses close to the pavement you can see into people’s homes. I often wonder what passers-by make of our church gatherings when they look in. It creates for me a lovely image of mission. We live in a cold and dark world. But when people look in through the window they see a community of joy, love, friendship – a place of light and warmth and welcome. This is what the church must be in our dark, cold, loveless world: a place of light at street level.
So think about your family, your street, your workplace, your local pub, the places where you hang out. The people there are living in darkness.
But you are the light of God. What will it mean for you to shine like stars? Think about your actions. Think about your words. Think about your attitudes.
‘Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’ (Matthew 5:16)