“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” Matt 5:16

by Steven Chan

The above-stated scripture declares that we are to conduct our lives in such a way that people will glorify our Father in heaven.

It tells us that how we conduct our lives on earth will affect how people view our Father in heaven. Have we ever wondered how our conduct may impact the way our friends see God? If we claim that we are Christians but the activities that we engage in do not bring glory to God, it puts God in a bad light and we have brought shame to God’s name because we bear His name as children of God.

In Matt 5:14-15, Jesus said: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” We are obligated to let our light shine such that our family and friends may see our good works and glorify God.

We cannot fail to let our light shine before men so that God may be glorified by our works. In other words, one cannot say that it does not matter how I live my life, or that how I live my life is my personal matter; it should not be of concern to anyone else! It matters to God how we conduct our lives.

Do we realize that we may be the only light that some may see that will impact how they view God? Before we adopt a course of action, it will do us well to ask the question: “Will people glorify God because of the course of action that I am about to adopt?” If it does not lead people to glorify God, then we will do well to re-consider our course of action if we truly love Him (John 14:15). Will my wearing of certain clothes show my desire to honor God and to glorify Him? Will my hairstyle or hairdo glorify God? Consider what the Bible say in 1 Cor 11:14-16: “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.” Will the job that I have undertaken to do, glorify God? Do the words that I say or write, glorify God? In 1 Cor 10:31-33, the beloved apostle Paul declared:

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” Are we concerned that we may be causing offense to others by our lifestyle or conduct or indifference – such that they may not be drawn to the gospel in order to be saved?

The above scripture in Matt 5:16 does not teach us to make a public show of our good deeds as was clearly explained by Jesus in Matt 6:1-4: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

Although we are not to make a public show of the good deeds that we do, God knows what we have done, and He will reward us in due season. The people who have benefited from our good deeds would have also known about our good deeds and they would glorify God for our good deeds.

In his epistle to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul appreciated the benevolent work of the brethren when he wrote thus:

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,

He has given to the poor;

His righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men” (2 Cor 9:8-13).

In 1 John 3:16-18, the Bible teaches the importance of actual doing of good and not just saying it only:

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

God blesses us with sufficiency so that we may have abundance for every good work. We may therefore be liberal in our sharing with brethren and with all men. In this way, God will be glorified by those who have been beneficiaries of our liberal sharing.

In John 15:8, Jesus said: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Discipleship requires us to bear much fruit so that God may be glorified.

Is our light shining in such a way that God is being glorified?  Or we indifferent to whether it has any impact whatsoever towards God? As disciples of Christ, are we bearing much fruit so that God may be glorified?