Dare To Lift Your Light Higher—Increase Your Influence and Joy Part 2March 3, 2014
by Rick Renner
Editor’s Note: This article is Part 2 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.
Last time, I shared with you about a struggle I experienced about ten years ago when leaders of a high-powered Russian organization challenged a group of Protestant ministers, saying to us, “The traditional church does nothing outside its walls.”
Although, those words were uncomfortable to hear at the time, they prompted me to consider the future of my church and ministry in Moscow and to ask myself some very hard questions. The answers to these questions were equally difficult as I quickly began to realize that if I didn’t change the way we did things, we would ultimately fall under the same category as other church and ministry leaders in Russia who had no impact or influence outside the walls of their buildings. We would eventually lose any godly influence on society that we had.
The following January, I went to the United States and attended Kenneth Copeland’s ministers conference. As the first scheduled minister spoke — while I was sitting in that atmosphere where the anointing was strongly present — it was like my brain opened up, and God began to download into my mind ideas about how to step out beyond the walls of my building and impact the world around me.
That is one of the great benefits of attending a meeting like this one. It’s not just hearing what’s being said from the pulpit — it’s being in an environment where the anointing is working, and things can open up to you that were previously closed or hidden.
Within five minutes during that meeting, I received a detailed plan — which I now call social evangelism — for reaching beyond our congregation and the four walls of our church. The plan was so detailed that I turned to Denise and said, “I can’t attend anymore of the meeting today; I have to go back to the hotel room and write all of this down.”
Back at my room, I immediately began typing out the plan. I’m a very fast typist, but it took me almost eight hours to get out everything I had received from the Lord about how to have influence.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 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. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. — Matthew 5:14-16
Notice the second part of verse 14: “…A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” With that one declaration, Jesus was teaching that we are to have influence beyond just the walls of our churches and buildings. What happens in our lives, our families, our jobs, and our churches and ministries should impact the world around us.
God never intended that we “let our light so shine” just within the walls of our churches or even of our homes — just among our own families and friends. Instead, He commanded us to expand His Kingdom and reach out to the world — letting our light shine further and higher than just our own tiny spheres where we worship, work, and live.
Notice Jesus’ words in verse 15: “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.” That word “candle” doesn’t refer to a wax candle like the ones we’re familiar with today. In fact, wax candles hadn’t been invented yet. A more correct translation would be “lamp.” It comes from the Greek word luchnos, which tells us exactly what kind of lamp Jesus was referring to. In Jesus’ day, that word described a clay lamp that fit in the palm of one’s hand.
Has your light been hidden in obscurity — whether through fear, complacency, or some hardship or test that has come into your life? I encourage you today to ask God once again to use you as a “lamp in His hand” in your sphere of influence and beyond. As you’re faithful in the little things He asks you to do, He will surely increase your influence more and more and multiply the joy in your life that comes through serving others.