In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”~Matthew 5:16
Did you play “Red, Yellow, Green Light,” as a kid? My siblings and I used to pretend that we could drive, and we’d maneuver our imaginary cars through the living room of our house. One of us would yell the light phase and the rest of us would act accordingly. If I yelled, “Red light!” then my brother and sister would stop in their tracks. If I yelled “Green Light!” then they’d drive fast, and if I yelled “Yellow light!” then they would begin to slow down. We couldn’t wait to be old enough to drive, so this game of pretending to drive was the closest we could get to it.
The scripture tells us to let our light shine, that people may see our deeds and praise God. What is the light that you’re displaying? Are you a red light—telling others to stop and not approach you? You’re not comfortable in your faith walk so you prefer to live in isolation. Perhaps you use the excuse that you’re an introvert in order to avoid being around people. (I’ve been guilty of this) You worship God by yourself. You praise God by yourself, and this seems to work for you because people are only distractions. How is this effective? Scripture tells us to go and make disciples (see Matthew 28:19). If we’re living in isolation then we are not sharing the light of the gospel, but are merely keeping it hidden. I’m not sure about you, but most of my stretching and growth experiences have occurred when I’m among people. That is when the consistency of my language and walk are challenged. Don’t get me wrong, there are appropriate times to be alone, and there are several accounts of Jesus withdrawing in order to have his private time. We still, however, must balance it with making sure that we are allowing our light to shine before others.
Are you a yellow light—so cautious in your walk that you are inauthentic in your relationships? Has the word of God become more like a set of rules that you are following, rather than a lifestyle? I know when I rededicated my life to Christ, I found myself trying to be a law-abiding Christian. It became exhausting, and I found myself second-guessing everything that I said and did. I think this phase is normal as a beginner Christian, but we must get to a point where we become so mature in our faith that we are able to operate freely in our walk with Christ. A yellow light tells others to proceed with caution. In other words, it communicates that you cannot handle everything and that people need to be careful when they come your way. This is different from setting boundaries (i.e. asking others to not use profanity around you). This is the type of Christian that some will say has become so “heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.”
Are you a green light—meaning that you operate freely with the light of truth? You are mature in your faith. You know when to let your light shine before others, but you also know when to withdraw and spend some time alone with God. You know that it is unhealthy to be green all the time, and are therefore able to maneuver between the three light phases. You use red to protect your alone time with God. You use yellow as a means of moving to a slower pace so that you can be light to those who have been overlooked or forgotten. Light is truth. We should challenge one another to become mature enough to operate freely in the light of truth. This maturity means using all three phases at the appropriate time.
Jesus is the light of world. As followers of him, we are light in a world of darkness. How we share that light is important. Are you a red, yellow, or green light? Have you matured enough to operate in all three phases? The light is our ability to influence those who are around us. I admit that I still have plenty of room for growth in sharing my light. I hope that you will grow with me.