If you are going to take cities you must embrace a life of personal responsibility to let your light shine, and you need to choose to live in the revelation that there is no competition between light and darkness. Finally, you have to answer the question, “How do I shine my light?” We find an answer to this question in John 9. When the disciples asked Jesus whose sin caused the blind man to be born without sight, Jesus ignored their question. He simply said that His job was to work the works of the One who sent Him because He was the Light of the World for as long as He was here.
When He turned to the blind man and healed Him, Jesus was modeling what we are to do as the light of the world. When Jesus teaches us to let our light shine by allowing people to see our good works, He is not just talking about random acts of kindness. We’ve watered down much of Jesus’ teaching on this subject by saying that He was encouraging us to be kind to others and meet their felt needs. Although He does teach us to do those things, He was saying something different in this story. That word “works” in John 9 is the same Greek word (Ergon) Jesus uses in Matthew 5. He is saying to let our light shine before people, that they may see things like blind eyes opening, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, the leper cleansed, and the dead raised. It’s through raw demonstrations of power and radical displays of love that we let our light shine.
Paul, a high school student in Southern California, was profoundly impacted at our Jesus Culture Orange County conference and left the meetings on fire to display the goodness of God to people. On a regular basis he would stop and ask the Lord to show him someone in the room to whom He wanted him to speak about His love. Paul’s friend was very impacted by the boldness of Paul but he was shy and afraid to step out. One day, Paul was in a restaurant with his friend and went about helping his friend learn to minister the love of God to others. He instructed his friend to pray and ask God, “Who do you want me to tell that You love them?” His friend prayed for a moment and said he believed God wanted to reveal His love to their waitress. The waitress came over to take their order, but before she could do so Paul’s ministry protégé turned to her and said, “Ma’am, we just wanted to let you know that God loves you.” Instantly, the waitress threw down their menus and stormed off. A few moments later, she came back and slammed their basket of bread on the table. “Who told you to tell me that?”
She angrily demanded. “Who told you to tell me that?” The boy, somewhat stunned by her response, said, “Ma’am, I’m so sorry. We did not mean to offend you. We were just praying and asked God who He wanted us to tell He loves, and He said you.” Then the young man stood up and said, “And I feel like God wants to hug you. Is it all right if I hug you?” A bit shaky and beginning to cry, the waitress agreed to the hug. The young revivalist leaned forward and gave their waitress a hug right there in the restaurant. As he hugged her, she sobbed. He hugged her for a few minutes as she had an encounter with the love of God.
As she wiped the tears from her face she told them her story. “This morning I woke up and said, ‘Nobody loves me. Nobody loves just me. God, if you’re out there I need You to show me You love me.’” Because of the courage of these two young men to display their light, that waitress encountered the radical love of God and darkness fled in her life.
We’ve seen the power of this at work the last 13 years in Redding. Believers are living with a sense of responsibility to bring people into an encounter with a supernatural God who is passionately in love with them. Because of their boldness to let their light shine, darkness has been fleeing and glory has been released throughout our city. How has glory been released? It has been delivered through the promise of Jesus: As people see our good works, they glorify our Father in Heaven (see Matt. 5: 16). As we let our light shine by putting the works of God on display, slowly but surely we are seeing an entire city saturated in the glory of God. However, we know that there is a promise yet to be fulfilled, that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2: 14).
The revelation of the glory of God will only cover the earth when the whole Body of Christ takes Jesus at His word and starts to go public.