When Your Light Shines

“Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at thing that shine, and life makes love look hard.”   – Taylor Swift –

            Sometimes simple lyrics tell a Biblical truth.  Such is the case with Taylor Swift’s recent hit song, entitled Ours.  A star in the world of country music, at only twenty two, she has had numerous hits.  Ours is a song about being in love and being true to the relationship in spite of having people criticize it.  Though I assume unintended, part of the lyrics of this song are striking in that they possess a truth that is taught in Scripture.  Basically singing a letter to the guy she loves, she tells him not to worry, and that “people throw rocks at things that shine”.  She is of course talking about their relationship.  And it’s true.  People do throw rocks at things that shine.  This doesn’t happen only in the context of living out Christian faith, but as a Christian, it will happen:  

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3:12)

“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)

            Persecution, often in the form of criticism, is indeed part of living separate from the world while at the same time, being in it.  Several public examples come to mind:  First, Tim Tebow, a star football player at the University of Florida and current NFL player.  For all who love him, many see him as a polarizing figure, criticizing him for his public displays of faith in Jesus Christ.  Second, Rick Santorum, a former presidential candidate who dared to stand for Biblical principles in the midst of the campaign.  Finally, Kirk Cameron, an actor who drew sharp criticism for expressing his belief in the Biblical view of marriage and homosexuality in spite of the unpopularity of those views among his peers.  These people, though certainly not sinless are living in the world, yet living differently by living a life that honors Christ.  Their lights are shining and because they are, people who prefer darkness are offended, demonstrating it by their criticism.  In Scripture, “light” correlates to holiness and purity whereas “darkness” refers to sin and wrongdoing. 

            The Bible gives numerous examples in which Christians are told to be lights in the world and to shine.  Paul told those in the church at Philippi to shine by living in a way that accords with faith in Christ (Philippians 2:15).  To those at Ephesus, he said, “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).  More importantly, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).  He also said, “Let your light shine before others…” that your good works that flow from living faith will bring glory to God (Matthew 5:16).  Never has a light shined brighter, exposing the darkness more than Jesus Christ.  That’s why He was and is hated so.  As your light shines, it may be costly.  People may hate you (John 15:18).  Suffering and persecution can be great or it may be very subtle, but sharing in the fellowship of Christ’ suffering is part of the Christian calling.  Trust God to provide the necessary grace.  Taylor’s lyrics are profound in another way.  Life does make love look hard.  Outward expression of love for God and for Jesus Christ can be hard under the influence of a dark world.  But there’s hope.  Jesus’ light still shines.  It shines so bright that the darkness can’t overcome it (John1:5).  So wherever you are, live as a child of God and let your light shine that it may point the way so that others may know Christ.

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