“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

For awhile, the second part of this verse seemed confusing to me. However, after learning more about the different narratives of the Bible and the way God works in and through His people throughout Scripture, it’s started to make more sense!

All throughout Scripture, we see God using His people, whether Israel or Christians to be a physical representation of Himself to those around them. Even in Genesis, He decides that He wants to make humanity in His likeness that they may rule and subdue creation (Gen 1:26).

We all know how the story goes, though, and they choose sin to satisfy them, causing every person coming after them to be marred by sin. God had a plan to redeem humanity, and it started with a people group that would reflect Him to everyone else, so that they may come back to relationship with God (Deuteronomy 7:6, Deuteronomy 14:2).

Obviously Israel messes up…big time. So God sends His perfect Son to redeem all mankind through His perfect sacrifice that could cover all their sins, allowing man to have a relationship with God again. Jesus knew His mission was not to stay on the earth, so He left us on earth, so that we can show others the light found in Jesus alone.

Now we get to Matthew 5:14. We can see with all of this background, that God has always put His people in a position to be seen by others, so that they may see Him and His character through us. 1 Peter 2:9 says about Christians that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (ESV). We are not saved to keep our light to ourselves, but to be in a position where others will look to us to see Jesus. 

This is not a call to outward “perfection”, though! Outward “perfection” is exactly what Jesus preached against throughout the beatitudes, which is the section Matthew 5:14-16 takes place in. In fact, He talks about a more important method of being the light of the world, which is renewing our hearts. It’s not about our actions looking good to those around us, it’s about asking His Holy Spirit to infiltrate our hearts, so that we may do all things out of a pure heart, to reflect Jesus in all we do. (If you want to learn more about this, read our past two blog posts, where we dive into this topic more!)

When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us and form us to look more like Jesus, we become more aware of how every situation or scenario can be used to be the light in the darkness. It’s by using every situation to show Christ to others that we can be the light in the darkness.

It’s also important that we surround ourselves with people who want to help us become more like Christ. Having accountability can make us aware of blind spots we have that are preventing us from deepening our relationship with Christ and reflecting Him to others. 

We have been set apart for a purpose greater than ourselves. Our prayer for you is that the Lord would make you aware of the ways you can be a city on a hill and a reflection of God and His character in every situation.

Check out our NO HIDING hoodie to see how we illustrated this encouragement to help you wear accountability to be the light of the world in all situations!


  • Ask God how you can be the light in all situations and to open your eyes to see how others look to you to see Jesus.
  • Write a list of different struggles you have that prevent you from showing your light (for example: being impatient, idolizing comfortability, pridefulness, etc)
  • Ask close friends how you can better reflect Jesus or if you have any struggles you’re unaware of
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