Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
(Matt. 5:15)
In Matthew 5:15, Jesus compared our lives in Him to a “candle,” or lamp, that we are to put “on a candlestick” (lampstand) so  that “it gives light to all who are in the house.” Once the lamp was filled with oil, the amount of light it provided was determined by its position. The higher the light, the brighter the light.

So what does this have to do with our ability to lift our own lights higher, as Jesus commanded? Once we become born again, the oil of the Holy Spirit fills us, enabling us to “let our light shine” (Matthew 5:16). But the degree to which we illuminate and bless others has everything to do with our faith!

It’s true with most of us that when we first begin serving the Lord, we have enough faith to light our lamp in the corner — just to give a little light to a few people who are in the corner with us. Then as we begin to get a little bolder, we elevate our lamp to the level of the table, because the area around the table is an easy, comfortable environment in which to shine. Unfortunately, this is where many people stop. At the table, they can look people in the eyes, reach out and touch everyone, and — with their gift and insights — comfortably touch a few people in that intimate setting around the table.

But if you want to give maximum light — if you want to have the biggest influence on as many people as possible — you must use your faith to stretch beyond your level of comfort and step up higher where you can give greater light. The higher the light, the brighter the light!

Now let me tell you what will happen the moment you decide you’re going to step out by faith to let your light shine brighter. You have the oil of the Holy Spirit — and you’ve been equipped with specific gifts and talents from the Lord that can help others and change the world. When you begin to lift up your “lamp,” the devil will be right there to say to you, Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re better than everyone else? Put that lamp back down on the same level as everyone else. How dare you be so prideful as to think you should lift your lamp higher than others?

But are you satisfied with your life having the same, limited level of impact others have because they’ve settled for shining their light just in the corners or tabletops? Or do you want to impact the greatest number of people possible with the gifts God has given you? If you want the latter, you have to do what others aren’t doing. You have to believe in and respect your gifts and calling, and you have to be confident and bold enough to obey God when He calls you to elevate the lamp of your life and extend your light further.

The simple truth is that when you respect the gift God has deposited inside you, others will respect it and pay attention. But if you make little of your gift or disregard it, others will disregard it too. To believe in your gift isn’t a mark of arrogance; it’s an indication that you want to lift your light higher and let it shine beyond the corners and tabletops of your world.

I don’t know about you, but there has always been something deep within me that wants to affect more people than just those “sitting at the table.” Don’t misunderstand me. We can and should positively affect those around us, or those in our immediate circle. But I want to see my city changed! I want to see nations changed! And I believe God can and does use me. That’s not pride — I simply have the boldness to lift my light higher so God can use me to influence those who need to experience Him for themselves.

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