Someone asked me a few days ago, “Who are you?”. I thought about it and realized this is a very good question. How do we normally answer this question? When we think about who we are, we often try to identify ourselves with someone well known. In Shillong my Father-in-Law is well known, so I often say, “Nga dei i pyrsa jong i bah Shangpliang” , “I am Bah Shangpliang’s Son in law” or if they know my wife I say, “Nga dei i lok Jong i Stephanie”, “I’m Stephanie’s husband”. Or sometimes we identify who we are with our position or title, “I am Pastor of this Church” or “I am director of this NGO” or I am “president of this association”. Most of the time when we tell people who we are, we tell them either who we are related to or what we do. But the question is not, “what do you do?” or “who are you related to?” the question is “WHO ARE YOU”. My question to you today is who are you? Not who are you related to, not what is your title, not what do you do. WHO ARE YOU. Do you know? The answer is written in Scripture.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Who are we?
- Sons and Daughters of the light. Jesus says that we are the light of the world!
- 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
- That is who we are. Children of the light. It is our identity
- Unfortunately we as the Church in Shillong (The body of Christ) have somehow managed to contradict scripture which says “a town on a hill cannot be hidden” and “people do not light a lamp and then put it under a bowl”. But this is what we have been doing! Meghalaya is said to have 80% Christians. If this is true, where is the light? The light must be there within us, but we have hidden it. Perhaps because we did not know of the light in us? Perhaps out of fear? Perhaps because we have not remained connected to the source of our light?
Where does our light come from?
- The Lord (Eph 5:8) Psalm 18:28 For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
- By Following Jesus. Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
- His Word: Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,a light on my path.
- Revelation 21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. This light that we have is not a light we can switch on and off. It is an everlasting light. We do not need to conserve electricity! The more we use it the brighter it becomes!
How do we shine our light? We must be plugged into the source! For our light to shine, there has to be some activity on our end.
- Ephesians 4:17- 32 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
- By doing everything without complaining and arguing and holding firmly to Jesus and His word. Philippians 2:14-16 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
- By hating the darkness. By resisting evil. John 3:19-21 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
- By sharing our light. Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
What happens when our light shines?
- It causes darkness to scatter! John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it / The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. The enemy becomes confused and loses (blinding light example)!
- We have peace and unity with one another and we are cleansed of sin. 1 John 1:5-7 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
- Fear is dispelled. We switch on a light in a room when we are scared. We don’t need to look for the light. We are the light. Switch on the light which is already in you! Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
- We gain understanding. (Ever tried to read without light?) Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your word gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.
- It exposes all that is wrong, especially in ourselves. (Eph 5:10)
- It illuminates the way in so many ways (Knowing God’s will, knowing right from wrong, what to do, where to go) (Ps 18:28)
- It keeps on spreading! (Eph 5:13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light) and cannot be hidden (Mtt 5:14)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.