Let Your Light Shine

MEMORY SELECTION: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16


THE Beatitudes or the declarations made by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount were designed to inform his followers what it meant, in terms of character development and manner of life, to be his disciples. In Matthew 5:3 we read, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Our Lord’s thought is expressed in another way by the Prophet Isaiah: “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (Isa. 66:1,2) The thought of being poor in spirit seems to be one who is not overly aggressive and self-confident but rather one who recognizes his own undone condition, weaknesses, and inadequacies when considering the Heavenly Father’s character, glory, and power. Those of this mental disposition, said Jesus, will possess the kingdom.

In verse four the Lord continues, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” The thought seems to be that those who are drawn by the Lord will have a heartfelt sympathy for those who are undergoing trials and suffering, and will groan within themselves yearning for the time when the curses of this sin sick and dying world will be lifted. The Apostle Paul expresses the same thought in this way: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [sonship], to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:22,23) When the entire church has experienced its resurrection, this will signal the start of the kingdom when suffering, pain, and death will cease. It is this hope that is a comfort to the footstep followers of Jesus.

Because of the limitation of space, it is impossible to discuss the balance of the Beatitudes in detail but we simply quote them: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”—Matt. 5:5-11

These principles of Christian character and conduct of life, as declared by Jesus, are the manifestations of an enlightened mind which results from the gift of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had not yet been begotten of the Holy Spirit but these precepts struck responsive hearts. Those principles differed considerably from the doctrines propounded by the scribes and Pharisees, but Jesus made it plain that he did not “come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17) The scribes and Pharisees and leaders lived by the letter of the Law and by this they missed the lesson that the Law was designed to teach. Jesus on the other hand magnified the spirit of the Law which more accurately expressed God’s purpose. In the subsequent scriptures recorded in the fifth through the seventh chapters of Matthew, Jesus amplifies and illustrates the meaning of the spirit of the Law and sets forth the correct precepts for the benefit and guidance of his footstep followers down through the Gospel Age.

Letting our light shine involves first the responsibility and privilege of telling forth the revealed truth of God’s word that we have received. And secondly, this truth which the Heavenly Father has revealed to us must have an effect on our hearts and minds to the extent that we are motivated to live by the spirit of these truths. If we do these things, then others who are also endeavoring to walk in the Lord’s footsteps will see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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