Jesus said in Matthew 5:16,
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
In a few verses earlier (verses 13 and 14), Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
In Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, he explains that if we are true Christians we are salt and we are light. We cannot help but to be salt and light. That is who we are. That is what He has made us.
Now some will say that they are Christians. But these in reality are Christians only in form. That is, they have a form of Christianity, but they deny its power. They have the appearance of a Christian but they are not. They, in fact, reject Christ. They have no salt and no light. Their salt has no saltiness and their light gives no light.
They may desire to be a Christian, but for the wrong reasons—perhaps to escape hell, or maybe to find happiness with some people in the church who have loved on them. But for certain, they will not find real fellowship. These people have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They are salt without salt and light without light. And in the end they will be cast into outer darkness.
A true Christian cannot be hid. He will stand out. He will be like a city set on a hill. And he will not desire to hide his light. However, for any Christian, there may be times when the thought, the temptation, to hide your light, enters you head. But you ought to know that that thought in your head is not natural for a Christian. It is of the devil and we must reject it. The natural desire for a Christian is always to let your light shine brightly.
The more you continue to read the word of God and pray, the more you will be strong in your desire to let your light shine brightly—to be different from the world.
How are we to let our light shine?
The key word in the KJV is “so.” The NASV has translated it, “in such a way.”
So, in what way is that? How are we to let our light shine? The answer is in the next phrase: that they (the world) may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Therefore, our works should not call attention to ourselves, but to Him, that He may be glorified.
Yes, we hope that people will see our good works. But the reason is not to bring glory to us, but that God would be glorifies.
Our light is a reflection of His light. When the world is drawn to our light it will be drawn into His light.