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10 Ways to Reflect the Heart of Jesus as the Light of the World

“You are the light of the world.” — Matthew 5:15

In addition to calling his disciples the salt of the earth in Matthew 5, Jesus calls them “the light of the world.”

For starters, it is important to remember that they/we/believers are not the source of the light. Jesus is. Like the moon reflects the light of the sun, we merely reflect the light of Christ.

Okay, so what does this mean?

Jesus tells us in the broader context.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16, NIV)

Reflecting the light of Christ is to manifest the heart of Jesus in practical ways, or what Jesus calls “good deeds.”

Here’s an encouraging thought. It doesn’t take much light to influence the darkness. A small deed of kindness is like a mustard seed. In other words, even a little grace makes a big difference.

For example, some of the good deeds Jesus mentions could include but are not limited to these ten ideas:

  1. Showing genuine compassion to sinners. The same kind of compassion Jesus has shown to us.
  2. Showing kindness to those undeserving of kindness. Just like the undeserved kindness we’ve received from Jesus.
  3. Having a deep desire to show free and full forgiveness to the repentant. In the same way Jesus has shown forgiveness to us.
  4. Confessing when we’re harmed others with our own genuine, no excuses repentance. The same kind of “turning with my sins to Jesus” repentance that believers practice daily in view of the gospel promise that Jesus will take our sins upon himself and cover us with his perfect righteousness.
  5. Defending those who can’t defend themselves, such as widows, orphans, and the marginalized. The same way Jesus defends us today.
  6. Speaking truth, but with a demeanor of humility. We avoid speaking with a condescending tone of judgement because apart from sheer grace, the law speaks that judgment of truth upon us.
  7. Extending words of encouragement and hope to the downcast. In the same way the gospel speaks to us.
  8. Feeding, clothing, and caring for those in need. In the same way Jesus feeds, clothes, and cares for us.
  9. Praying for our enemies. Because we once were enemies of God, until Jesus took our place in life and death, becoming the means for our liberation from sin and death, as well as our adoption as children of God.
  10. Doing good to our enemies. Because nothing reflects the heart of the Father more (see Matthew 5:43-47).

We could go on and on.

However, Jesus acknowledges that just as we can lose our saltiness, we can hide our light.

Therefore, just like a solar panel must be exposed to the sun in order to absorb usable energy, we must be continually exposed to the light of God’s grace in the crucified and risen Christ though continual reminders.

In this way, the light of the cross empowers us when we’re tempted to hide or distort the light, enabling us to face rejection and persecution, to enter places that will require sacrifice, and to speak in person and online with the kind of humility and shocking, disorienting kindness that will be required in order for believers to have true, gospel influence for the kingdom of God in a post-Christian context.

If you teach Sunday School, a Bible study for adult or youth small groups, teach Sunday School, teach your kids as a homeschool parent, lead family devotions, are a missionary, serve as a camp counselor, etc., the principles in the PPGR Preaching System will give you a template that will help you create lessons that are biblically grounded, tethered to the cross of the risen Jesus, and applicable to real life.

Check out the PPGR Preaching System

Get more information about the PPGR Preaching System.