"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." – Matthew 5:14-16 MEV
The Lord Jesus Himself told us to let our lights shine so that people may see us do good and then glorify God. Oftentimes this is understood or perceived wrongly, leading many believers to either fail to shine their lights, let themselves shine for their own glory, or actually hide their light under a basket.
For this article I will talk about the latter: hiding under a basket.
Lighted Up But Hidden Away
Many Christians live according to how Jesus said it: putting their lights under a basket. This is a sad thing to do. Ephesians 5:8 tells us a very strong reason why:
"For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." (MEV)
Before we met Christ, we all used to live in darkness. Now that we have Christ in us, the Hope of glory living in us, we are "light in the Lord." We used to be people groping in the dark path of sin, but because of Christ we have been saved and transformed into lighted lamps, lighting the way for people to know Christ and be saved by Him.
We should understand, then, that our salvation doesn't just save us. Our salvation in Christ also empowers and expects us to bring the light of Christ to those in the darkness of sin!
Do you want to know if you're shining a light for God to be seen? Here are a few ways Christians hide their lights in a basket, and how we can avoid it.
1. By Looking Like the World
"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:31-33 NLT)
2. By Sounding Like the World
"And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?" (James 3:10-11 NLT)
"Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God." (Ephesians 5:4 NLT)
3. By Not Sharing the Gospel
"[Jesus] said to [His disciples], "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved. But he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16 NLT, emphasis mine)