The word “light” was one of the most commonly used term in the teachings of the gospel. Apostle John declared that his mission was “to bear witness of the Light” 1 “which was the true light, which lighteth every man who cometh into the world.” 2
Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared that “I am the light of the world”. 3 Such declaration had been prophesized as a sign to be given when HE was born; a new star would appear in the east that would direct the wise men to Jerusalem to find Him. 4 Samuel the Lamanite prophet also prophesized that at the time of His coming to the earth, “there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night … nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.”5 Nevertheless, the most important message being the light of the world is that “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” 6
In His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus Christ had shown us His great examples of being the light and in return, we are requested to also become the light of the world. We are requested by Him to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 7
The word “light” had also been quoted in many scriptures and teachings of prophets and apostles when referring to the gospel, the knowledge, and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, etc. We can easily understand the meaning of these teachings when light is used as an example, particularly when comparing light to darkness.
We understand that light represents guidance, direction, hope, safety and understanding. Light is the source that we always look for in darkness so as to escape from unsafe, anxiety, confused and disoriented feelings. We all hope that we can carry strong lights or we can strongly reflect the light when lights fall upon us. To become such, we need to become such persons that are cleansed and pure so that we are worthy of carrying light or reflecting light. In other words, we need to develop the spiritual strength within ourselves which can become the source of our light. These spiritual strengths come through our faith, keeping the commandments and our covenants, and living a virtuous life. We need to become the wise virgins that would carry enough oil in their vessels for their lamps to prepare to meet with the bridegroom. We cannot become a stained mirror that cannot reflect the light.
Sometimes in life, we may rely upon the light of others but, we do need to become the source of light on our own. The Lord teaches us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 8 We need to act so that the Lord’s promise can be fulfilled in us and help us to develop our own source of light.
Today, it may not be easy to be the light of the world when we are surrounded by temptations that the evil one has placed before us, as he attempts to confuse us and then ensnare us. Once we are being caught by these temptations, sometimes it is nearly impossible to relinquish and our light diminishes. To be safe and able to maintain our light, we must recognize what these temptations are and then we need to be unwavering in our determination to avoid them.
We can easily see nowadays that there are those who would have us believe that what once was considered unrighteous is now acceptable. I hope we would remember the scripture, “Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” 9 We need to remember the wise teaching of the Apostle Paul when we face temptation which declares, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 10
Elder Neil L. Andersen recently taught in his talk “A Compensatory Spiritual Power for the Righteous” at the Brigham Young University Education Week devotional on 18 August 2015: “As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous. As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.” 11 Our worthiness to allow the Holy Spirit to accompany us will become the powerful source of our light to others.
Bearing Christ-like attributes will allow us to become a strong reflection of light in our life. Our Lord Jesus Christ has extended His “Come Follow Me” invitation to all of us. Our discipleship should really reflect who we are as indicated in Apostle Paul’s Epistle to Timothy: “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 12 We need to act upon these teachings.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in the Priesthood Session of the April 2015 General Conference: “The Church is not an automobile showroom-a place to put ourselves on display so that others can admire our spirituality, capacity, or prosperity. It is more like a service center, where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation.” 13 President Thomas S. Monson has given powerful teaching in the October 2015 General Conference in his talk to explain how we could be examples in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity to others.14 May I extend my invitation to all of you to read again and again this prophetic message so that we can learn and remember how we can be an example and a light.
Let us all strive to become clean and pure that we can be a light and a strong reflection of light. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and He is our advocate with Heavenly Father. He is our example and our strength. May we all commit to follow Him to become the shining light to the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. ■
1. See John 1:7.
2. JST John 1:9.
3. See John 8:12.
4. See Matthew 2:2.
5. See Helaman 14:3-5.
6. See John 8:12.
7. Matthew 5:16.
8. Doctrine and Covenants 88:63.
9. See 2 Nephi 15:20.
10. 1 Corinthians 10:13.
11. See http://www.byutv.org/watch/9142b9fc-4520-446e-8992-608dcc2b1ab3/byu-devotional-address-elder-neil-l-andersen-81815-education-week.
12. See 1 Timothy 4:12.
13. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “On Being Genuine,” Ensign, May 2015, 83.
14. See Thomas S. Monson, “Be an Example and a Light,” Ensign, November 2015, 87.