Dare To Lift Your Light Higher—Increase Your Influence and Joy Part 4March 7, 2014
by Rick Renner
Editor’s Note: This article is Part 4 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
Something I’ve learned as a pastor is that it’s part of my job to create an environment in our church where people can have access to “Holy Ghost oxygen” and never feel smothered in their gifts and callings. I endeavor to help release people in the areas of their God-given talents so they can let their light shine the brightest. Then when they make a mistake — and we’ve all made mistakes — I encourage them so that they’re not “smothered” and their lamp doesn’t become hidden or their light put out.
The word “bushel” in Matthew 5:15 refers to a measuring device or a jar made of solid material used to scoop and measure grain. Well, it wouldn’t make any sense to put one of these “bushels” over a lamp, because then the light couldn’t be seen. Even worse, if you kept a bushel over a lamp very long, it would deprive the fire of oxygen ? and eventually, that jar would smother the fire and completely put it out.
This is what the devil tries to do to Christians. He knows we have the power of influence. He knows we have gifts, talents, faith, and enough of the Holy Ghost to change the world around us. But just about the time we begin to step out in faith in a certain area to let our light shine, he says, Who do you think you are? What makes you think you can make a significant impact on society, or even on one person’s life? Get back under the bushel where it’s comfortable and no one can see you make a fool of yourself.
Don’t Allow Your Light — Or The Light of Others — To Be ‘Smothered’!
What did Jesus say about the best way to let our light shine? He wants us to put our lamp “on a lampstand” so “it gives light to all who are in the house” (v. 15 NKJV). The Greek word for “lampstand” here is luchnia, which referred to an elevated stand on which a lamp (luchnos) could be placed. You see, once the lamp was filled with oil, the amount of light it provided was determined by its position.
If the lamp was placed in a corner, it would give light only to those nearest that corner. If it was then set on a table, it would provide enough light to illuminate everyone sitting around that table. But if that same lamp was placed on top of a lampstand, it could provide maximum light and illuminate all who were in the room! In other words, the position of the lamp determined the influence it exerted. The amount of light produced from the lamp was actually the same, but its elevated position made its light much more effective. The higher the light, the brighter the light!
So what does this have to do with our ability to lift our own lights higher? Once we become born again, the oil of the Holy Spirit fills us, enabling us to “let our light shine” (Matthew 5:16). But the degree to which we illuminate and bless others has everything to do with our faith and trust that God can and will use us! We must each ask ourselves, Are we out of position, or are we taking our place?