“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5.16
There is a significant difference between doing good works so you will go to heaven and working for God because you are on your way to heaven. Jesus clearly states our level of responsibility to the world in these words here in Matthew 5.16. The first truth is that we are to be lights in this sin-darkened world: “Let your light so shine before men … ” A light is useless if it does not shine when it is needed, so Jesus’ words here indicate that my life and your life are to shine – to be noticeable and to fill the void of darkness found in this world.
Why is our light supposed to be shining? “that they may see your good works … ” Once again let me be clear. We are NOT working in order to earn our way to heaven. That is what the cross is all about. But we ARE working so OTHERS who are not Christ-followers will be able to “see (our) good works … ” There is a specific reason for these unbelievers to be able to see how we live. And it is: to “glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Let’s take a step back and look at WHY Jesus is speaking these words. Jesus came to this earth so that HE might glorify His Father in heaven. After a short span of about 33 years, He was taken back to heaven and we are left here to continue His work of glorifying our Father who is in heaven. Look at the kinds of attitudes that must be overcome in order for our lives to glorify our Heavenly Father: (1) narcissism (life is all about ME), (2) selfishness (I want to do what I want to do), (3) laziness (I don’t feel like living that way), and (4) procrastination (I will do that [glorify God] some other time. I just want to live my life right now).
Let’s get down where the rubber meets the road. The quicker we learn God’s purpose for us while we are living down here, the more victorious our lives will become. The sooner we grasp the concept of letting our light shine so what God will be glorified, the sooner we are able to fill a part in the kingdom work God left us here to do. Just my thoughts …