Dare To Lift Your Light Higher—Increase Your Influence and Joy Part 3March 5, 2014
by Rick Renner
Editor’s Note: This article is Part 3 of Rick’s continuing series “Lift Your Light Higher” in which he teaches in-depth from Matthew 5:14-16 and shares from his own experiences of respecting the gift of God within and stepping out of the shadows to allow that gift to bless others.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. — Matthew 5:15
In my past post I shared that the word “candle” in Matthew 5:15 doesn’t refer to a wax candle like the ones we’re familiar with today. A better translation of that word “candle” – from the Greek word luchnos – would be lamp. In this verse, Jesus was referring to the kind of clay lamp that fit in the palm of one’s hand.
So often I hear of precious, sincere believers who had given their hearts completely to Jesus – they placed their lives in the palm of His hands to be used for His glory – but then something happened. Whether they were assaulted in their minds with accusations, guilt, and condemnation from the enemy or some severe trial befell them to cause them to falter in their faith and grow discouraged, the enthusiasm they once had for the Lord began to wane. Just like a lamp that was once brightly lit but then began to flicker and waver, something came to oppose their faith and their fervor for the Lord, and the dreams they’d held deeply in their hearts began to be obscured by hardships and difficulties.
The good news is that God did not change His mind about the dreams He’d placed in their hearts – and He hasn’t changed His mind about you and your God-given dreams! If your view of Jesus and your effectiveness for His Kingdom have been somehow dimmed, I want to encourage you that God still desires to use you as a “lamp in His hand” to give light to the world around you that lies in darkness.
Continuing my teaching on this subject of “lifting your light higher,” I want to back up to:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. — Matthew 5:14
Have you ever wondered why Jesus would say, “You’re the light of the world” (v. 14) and yet use such a small lamp to illustrate such a great light (v. 15)? To answer that question, we have to consider the lamps of New Testament times. First, these lamps were made of clay, a very inexpensive material in itself. In fact, the most valuable thing about these lamps was the oil that was inside, which happened to be very expensive.
Second, the lamp by itself couldn’t provide any light at all; its ability to give light was totally dependent on the oil.
A third thing about these lamps was they were very fragile. If you grabbed them too quickly or held them too tightly, they would break right in your hand. And the fact is, our bodies – like those lamps – are temporal and fragile. And if it’s reduced to minerals, the human body is not worth very much at all. But just like those lamps, if we’ve been born again, we carry the precious oil of the Holy Spirit within us – inside these “earthen vessels” (see 2 Corinthians 4:7).
Friend, you are truly a miracle of God. Once eternally lost and without hope – as worthless as one of those clay lamps – now you are a container of the very Spirit of God! Much like the lamp Jesus referred to in Matthew chapter 5, your life is a “lamp” that He wants to use to light the way for others. You are His temple through which He desires to reach and bless humanity.
And here’s the thing about how those lamps of Jesus’ day gave out light: Once the wicks were immersed in oil and lit, the lamps would burn continually ? as long as there was a supply of oil. This tells me that if we’ll stay filled with the Holy Ghost (see Ephesians 5:18), we never have to lose our fire or allow our light to grow dim in our walk with God. We can give light and have influence in the world around us until the very end of our course on this earth.