Part IV—Be a Light in the World
Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world.”
John 8:12
Jesus said, “You are the Light of the world.”
Matthew 5:14
The concept of “Light” plays an important role in the Bible. In Genesis 1:3, we read that light was the first thing God created. And at the beginning of the Gospel of John, in John 1: 4-5 we read “In Him (the Word of God, Jesus Christ) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Light is not only the first thing God created. It is also the most powerful thing, since nothing can overtake light.
In the Gospel, Jesus reveals light as the one characteristic we share with God. In John 8:12, He says “I AM the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And in Matthew 5:14, He says “You are the light of the world.” In Matthew 5:16, He tells us “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
In both becoming encouragers and feeling encouraged, remembering the concept of light is an important part of keeping sound and being sanctified. It is important to remember that light shines in darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. So even the smallest amount of light will defeat darkness.
It is important for us to remember two things. As long as we have the Light of Christ in us (and we all do, it can’t be taken out of us), darkness cannot overtake us. It cannot extinguish the Light within us. Even in the bleakest of circumstances, the Light of Christ is present in us.
Secondly, we are supposed to be the Light. We are supposed to reflect Christ’s light. How do people describe you? As fun? Mature? The life of the party? Dangerous? Sincere? Hopeful? Would anyone describe you as “light”? Would anyone say you radiate the light of Christ?
Saint Paul writes in Ephesians 5:8-10, “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” In other words, we are to conduct ourselves as God’s children, as children of Light.
He continues in Ephesians 5: 15-18: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.”
Going back to Matthew 5:15, after telling His disciples (and us) that we are the Light of the world, Jesus says, “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house.” There are two meanings here. First, we are not to hide the light of Christ, but put it on display for all to see, and to be inspired by.  We are not putting on display for our own egos or for recognition. Rather we display the Light of Christ to inspire and encourage others. Second, by and large, we do not live in secret. Who we are on display, like a light on a stand. Yes, there are pieces of our lives that are not shared and to some extent, we all live a “double life” that is kept from others. However, plenty of our lives are on display for others to see—our language, our work ethic, our sense of respect for ourselves and for others, our generosity, etc. When others see our lives as lamps put on stands for all to see, do they see a person of Light? Or of darkness? Of all that is good and right and true (Ephesians 5:9), or what is bad, and wrong and false?
Christ tells us that His Light is in all of us, because He is the Light of the world, and has placed that Light in everyone in the world. Christ also tells us that we are the Light, because we are the primary witnesses for the Light of Christ. In John 12:36, He encourages us, saying “while you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” And in I John 1:17, we read “if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Thus, walking in the light, we will come not only closer to God but to one another.
Christ the True Light, who enlightens and sanctifies every person who comes into the world, let the light of Your countenance makes its mark upon me, that I may behold Your ineffable light. Direct my steps in the way of Your commandments. (Adapted from an Orthodox prayer) Let Your light shine in me, and help me to radiate Your light towards those around me. May I be a person of Light and all that is good and right and true. Amen.
Kindle Christ’s light within you. Shine Christ’s light towards those around you.

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    Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0


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Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0

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