Connecting to the Power for Your Light to Shine

I have a small flashlight that sits on the corner of my desk.  It’s easy to grab, and located fairly centrally in the trailer.  When needed, it will pierce the darkness or illuminate a dark cabinet, so I can see as needed.

But there is something about this flashlight that is required to make it work.  Batteries.  WIthout the batteries inside, it’s just a plastic and metal shell that isn’t worth anything.

The power source

God chooses us to do His work, bringing light into the darkness of this world.  We often think that we are capable of accomplishing great things.  And yet, without the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we are just like my flashlight without batteries – a shell of potential without the power to light up anything.

I’m generally thought of as a fairly talented man.  Able to do a lot of different things with success.  I was a respected CPA and could analyze business transactions, financial statements, and tax returns with the best of them.  I’m handy with tools, building and fixing things.  But the things that really matter, things of eternity, I’m like that flashlight without batteries, inept and incapable without the Holy Spirit.

The true work is done by the Lord.  He chooses to work through people, you and me.  We have to remember that it is not us working but Him.  We have our part to play.  Mostly we have to be present in each situation, listening to Him and doing as He leads.

As He leads

Too often, we respond based on our emotions instead of the Lord’s directions.  Feelings are fickle and fleeting.  Our emotions are generally self-centered.  When we depend on a feeling or emotion, we are subject to being swayed and tossed about, as if in a sea where the tide ebbs and flows and waves push and pull.  But in Christ, we have a solid foundation.

It takes several things to follow the Lord’s leading.  The first is we have to listen to Him.  Prayer needs to be a conversation, and really one where we listen as much, or more than, we talk.  If all of your prayer time is you talking to God, then you are missing the most important part.  His words are what we really need.

Second, we have to put aside our agenda.  What we want isn’t very important when we are being powered by the Holy Spirit.  This requires humility and submission.  God generally doesn’t do things in accordance with my plans.  But what He does is always better than anything I could come up with.

Do it

Finally, we have to do it.  I know, that sounds obvious, but too often we talk and plan and strategize when we should be acting.  A couple of weeks ago, during worship at church, the Lord impressed upon me to go pray for someone (I’ll call him Joe).  This isn’t an unusual thing; however, that day I pushed back.

I was enjoying worshiping the Lord in song and this was an interruption of what I was doing.  Looking over at Joe, I saw he had his hands up and appeared to be deep in worship.  I delayed in obeying.  For whatever reason, the Lord gave me another chance and I reluctantly, but obediently, went over to Joe and prayed.  

Delayed obedience is disobedience.  In Numbers chapter 14, the people changed their mind and decided to go ahead into the Promised Land.  But it was too late.  They had first rebelled and the Lord had determined that generation was not going to enter the land He had for His people.  We need to respond in obedience when the Lord says to do it, not on our timetable.  He doesn’t always give us a second chance to follow His instructions.

Don’t hide your light

There are times in life that we try to hide the light that is within us.  It could be while we are at work or school.  It may even be while we are at church.  We think that if the light shines out we won’t be accepted or other people will make fun of us.  

Jesus talked about this in the Sermon on the Mount.  He tells us that we shouldn’t be hiding our lamp under a basket.  There’s no point in having the power flowing to provide the light, if it is just going to be hidden and unseen.  When we hide the light of Christ that should be shining through us, the Lord may take His power and use it somewhere else.  

We may not even be aware that the light has moved on or is fading.  I’ve met many people that have been used by God to do amazing things.  Some of them are still talking about what happened back when.  It’s great to celebrate what’s happened in the past, but we can’t stay there.  We have to continue to be lighting the path and moving forward today.  Keep that light shining, doing the work of the Lord today.

Let your light shine

Think about the conversations around the workplace after the local sports team has won a big game.  There’s excitement and energy.  Do we as Christians exude anywhere close to as much enthusiasm when we see God working?  

When we see a life saved or a sick person healed, we should be off the charts excited, giving glory and honor to the Lord.  But what I most often see is that we are timid and shy, not wanting to look like a religious lunatic.  This is especially true when God does something that we can’t explain.  

I used to be one of those people.  I still have to fight the thoughts that would hold me back.  But I’m learning that those lies of the enemy steal from me.  You see, when I start bragging about God, it’s like the button is pushed on my flashlight; a light comes on and shines in the darkness.  His power lights me up and I become a testimony to His awesomeness.  

Yeah, people look at me weird.  I don’t really know what they say afterwards.  My hope is that they will talk more about God’s goodness than Mark’s craziness.  Regardless of what they think, I’m going to allow the Lord to shine through me.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

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