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Light It Up


Gwen Smith

February 15, 2016

Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Faith, I Want It All

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I am the light

The hike up the mountain was a tough one. Flimsy patches of shade dangled from the trees but they were no match for the brutal Pennsylvania mid-summer heat. The rocky, three-mile vertical jaunt was only tamed by the fun being had along the way with the other camp counselors.

We talked. We sang. We laughed.

It was a week before the campers would arrive. All the counselors gathered for training that prepared us for the lessons and activities we would lead kids in all summer long. Caving was one of the optional camp activities so we went as a team of counselors to experience it before we led it.

When we finally reached the entrance of the cave and stepped down into the mouth I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d never been caving before and I didn’t know what to expect, but the benefits of “no more heat” were very appealing to me those first few minutes. We grabbed our flashlights, turned them on, filed in one by one, and began moving down the dark entrance corridor.

After I grew accustomed to the cooler temperature of the cave, I secretly got a bit freaked out by my surroundings. As passageways grew smaller and smaller and we trekked deeper and deeper into the cave, my mind flooded with questions. Is there enough air in here to support life? Who signed me up for this? What happens if we get lost down here? I have to crawl on my belly to go forward… wait, what?

Yeah. For real. It was something else.

I don’t think I’m necessarily claustrophobic, but let’s just say “comfortable and brave” aren’t the words I’d use to describe how I was feeling mid-cave. I strapped on my courage, breathed a steady stream of silent prayers, and stayed close to the friend in front of me as we followed the guide who was leading our group.

An hour or so into the spelunking expedition, he led us into a room. Yes. A room in the middle of a cave. {And, yes. I was thinking about Marshall, Will and Holly… and hissing Sleestaks and Cha-Ka. Because this is normal behavior for those of us born between 1968 and 1972.}

This inner room was big enough for the entire group of counselors. There must’ve been at least 40 of us that day. We all loaded in and chit-chatted excessively.

“Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” Our guide summoned us to silence.

Giggles and conversations trailed off…

“We are in the heart of the cave. This room has no natural source of light whatsoever. Only what we have brought with us: the flashlights. It’s a darkness that is different than anything you’ve ever experienced. To illustrate this, I’d like everyone to switch off your lights.”

Gulp. Okay.

“Try to see the person beside you. You can’t. Hold your hand up in front of your face. Wave it around. You can’t see it. This is a space void of light.

We oohed and ahhed, and tried our hardest to see… with no success.

Then he lit a match.

One. Tiny. Match.

And the whole room was visible.

Darkness was invaded. Conquered. Shoved back. Forced to flee and acquiesce to one itty-bitty source of light.

And he began to tell a familiar story that stirred my soul in a fresh way.

“A long time ago, on the other side of the world, on a hillside near Capernaum Jesus sat down with a group of ordinary people just like you and me. He looked them in the eye and said to all who believed…

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Then he went on to commission us for the work that lies ahead. He challenged us to be mindful of light’s impact and to go back to the campground and be that light all summer long. To the campers. To the counselors. To everyone we came in contact with.

I was gripped.

Gripped by the power of light. Gripped by this word that Jesus said describes me. IS me. Is my purpose… my calling… my commissioning – for that summer… this winter… every day.


I am the light of the world. Not because of any glittery glow of my own but because I am handcrafted, redeemed, restored, and refined by THE Light of the World who blows away any and all darkness that tries to dominate.

You are the light of the world too. And those around you in your family, your workplace, community, and even in your church are in great need of seeing an un-hidden, unapologetic light that serves and loves others in such a way that they would simply have to respond to God with praise.

Go on now… light it up, today.

Dear Lord, My heart is blown wide open when I think of the power You possess to not just impact, but annihilate darkness with light. Please forgive me for the times when I forget who I am in You and fail to shine. Help me to live and love in such a way that it would cause others to want to know and worship You. 
In Jesus’ Name, amen


Read Psalm 27:1. What three names is God called by the psalmist in this verse? Should knowing Him as your light, salvation, and stronghold affect the way you live out your faith? Why or why not?

What one thing can you do to live-out the light of Jesus today? Will you do it? {I’d love to hear about it. Click here to tell me your one thing… or tweet it to me: @GwenSmithMusic}
Goodness! Have I told you lately how much I love doing life with you?

I do. I really, really do. 🙂

Have a beautiful day, friend.


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About Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.


7 responses to “Light It Up”

  1. Rebecca Hricko says:

    The light in us is only there because Christ lives in us, and we can only shine it if we are filled with the spirit. For me, that means making time to spend with Him every day to read my Bible and pray, and keeping my actions and motives in check by asking myself why I am doing what I am doing.

  2. Jehrica M. says:

    Hebrews 4:12
    “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    Going to shine the Lord’s light by writing notes with encouraging Scriptures to those whom the Lord puts in my path! For the Word of God to shine brightly we must continue to share it!

  3. Teasha Smith says:

    The one thing i will do is Obey the Voice of God!!!!!! My sheep hears my voice and a stranger they will not follow!!!!!

  4. Alexandria says:

    I wonder if any of us can know what it is that we will do on any given day to live out the light of Yeshua, until the situation presents itself and we are caught in that momentary space of decision on how we will respond. I guess to me that means going into each day telling myself that I will trust and obey, with G.ds help, of course. For who is so equipped to do any of this apart from the power of our Messiah? We do not understand, we are broken and crushed by so many trials, and yet only G.d sees around the “corners” in our lives and what choice do we have but to trust in His good plan, even when the darkness is so encompassing that it feels as though hope simply cannot exist. I think I have been learning that I, as a person, lives and strives to see “conclusion” and “understanding” of the pain my life encompasses, while the L.rd is saying to live in each day and each moment as He leads. Baby steps, those little steps that seem so unnecessary and frustrating, and yet it is in THOSE small movements that G.d reveals who He is to us, and so our souls are constantly being gathered back, back into and under the wings of our Messiah as we learn to live and breathe and have our being in Him. This is not our home, or our paradise. This is the “short” stay prep for the long time manifestation of His unending power and glory to be revealed in our lives, where there will be no more tears and no more suffering. May G.d grant us all the strength and perspective we need as we step in pace with Him, weathering the storms that challenge us daily to keep looking to Him and trusting Him when nothing is right and despair is knocking at our doors.

  5. cindy says:

    My faith is being tested. It’s very likely that I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I have a biopsy scheduled for Wednesday. I find it hard to even pray. I want so much to be strong and walk by faith.

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Dear Lord, You tell us that when we are weak, You are strong. Please provide Cindy with the strength that she needs as she faces fears and feelings that are overwhelming. Comfort her with Your love. Direct her with your Spirit. Allow her the grace to see through the strain of each day and diagnosis to see Your provision and power. We ask that you would heal her, Lord. We bind this prayer to Your will and pray that Your glory will be maximized through this trial. And we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • Rosanna says:

      Hi Cindy, Will keep you in my prayers that God will heal you! God will always be with you, never leave you, even in times when we struggle in our faith. God bless! xx

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