“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Right before this verse, Jesus tells us that we are light to the world and that no one lights a lamp and blocks the light. He’s telling us that we need to be that light and shine in places where there is darkness. Shining our light means that we follow God and honor Him by doing what He asks us to do.
We shine our light by asking God to give us a love for those around us. It changes what we do and makes us different from the rest of the world. Serving others and being kind to them will make us stand out. When we do this, other people will see the way we live and want to know why we’re different. It’ll give us an opportunity to tell them that we act differently as a way of saying thank you to God for His gift of eternal life through Jesus.
By following God and doing good deeds and telling others about Jesus, we shine his light into the lives of people who don’t know him. Many times, our actions show His love more than our words can. We can talk and talk about Jesus, but if we’re not living the way we should be, people won’t want to listen to what we have to say. But if we are kind and patient, giving of ourselves to others, they’ll be more inclined to listen when we talk to them about Jesus because they know what kind of people we are.
We do need to remember that it’s not our good works that bring people to Jesus. Our good works give us an opportunity to talk about Jesus. The verse reminds us that what we do should be a reflection of God who has enabled us to do good things. When we are nice to others, shining Christ’s light with love for those around us, the glory should go to God and not to ourselves.
What good is it if we direct all the glory to ourselves? When we use our good works to lift ourselves up, we’re not lifting up God. Instead, we should be humble in recognizing that it is only through God that we can do good works.
Have you ever seen someone looking up at the sky? Usually you’ll want to look up and find out what they are looking at. We’re even more curious if they’re pointing at something, and that’s what we need to do. We need to look to God, which will encourage other people to look to him. When we do good works and glorify him with our actions, that’s like pointing.
It makes people even more curious about what we’re looking at. If we were standing out in public just looking at ourselves, people would walk past and not even bother with us. That’s what it’s like when we use our good works to glorify ourselves. But if we use our good works to point to God, people will stop and want to know what we’re pointing to.