Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Sometimes changing one simple word in a verse of scripture can help us understand a deeper meaning. I’m not suggesting we add or detract anything from the Word of God, but instead would suggest we regard it from a different point of view to help us understand the true meaning.
Regarding the above scripture, consider the first word, “Let”. A simple definition of “let” is to, “consent to, permit, to give permission”. If we substitute that definition for “let” the scripture might read something like this: “Consent to, permit and give permission for your light to so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Take a few minutes and meditate on the scripture as such. We are to “consent to, permit and give permission” for our light to shine so others will see it and the result will glorify God the Father! It sounds so simple. So why is it so hard sometimes to let our light shine?
If we must give permission for our light to shine it would indicate the light is already inside us, that it is already shining but waiting for us to give permission for others to see it.
Of course, that “light” is the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in every Born-Again Believer. The Holy Spirit will never force us to “shine” so others will see it. He will gently and patiently wait for us to recognize His presence and the power we have through Him to change lives. He knows we’re in a battle, with part of us opposing Him and another welcoming His presence, but He continues to love us with a love we will never completely understand.
I would suggest to you the sooner the truth of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit becomes a reality and the sooner the Believer totally submits to Him, the sooner they will bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the sooner the Fruit and Gifts of the Spirit will be manifested through the Believer.
What we must remember is the Holy Spirit is the One shining through us and all we do is “Let” Him, meaning to give consent to, or permit, Him to shine so others can see Him.
So how do we “shine”? What must we do to let others see the presence of the Holy Spirit within us? The first thing we do is to recognize His presence within ourselves. We talk to Him just as we would talk to a best friend. When we are around others we talk with thoughts of Him, of thanks for our blessings, of thoughts of His patience, love, and mercy. When we talk to Him in private we can speak audibly of the same things and even sing to Him by singing Psalms or by making up and singing our own tributes to Him. The more we do of this, everything else will fall into place and the more we will shine.
When that truth “sinks in” to the heart of the Believer, the drawing of the Holy Spirit will attract others.
Then He will speak through us to others about Jesus.
Then He will show compassion, through us.
Then He will manifest mercy, love, comfort, healing, and understanding to others through us.
Then He will smile through us.
He is the Light already shining in us, waiting for permission to manifest His presence to others and He will not act against our will but patiently waits for us to “let” Him shine.
If you are born-again, I would suggest you think of the eternal, all-knowing and all-powerful third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, Who is a perfect Gentleman and not willing to force us to do anything but quietly and gently waiting in the background of your soul for permission to shine, to bear witness of Jesus and give glory to God.
So ask yourself this question: “What is keeping me from giving permission to the Holy Spirit to shine through me and bring glory to God the Father?”