“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)
Who are we “lifting up?” Jesus or ourselves. Who do we want to be seen and praised? The Father or ourselves. God would glorify Himself through His people. “Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us …” (Ps. 90:16,17) God cannot be glorified when when we labor in our own minds and strength. We shine for Him when we move in Him.
Jesus glorified the Father because He didn’t speak of Himself. (John 7:17,18) The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus because He doesn’t speak of Himself. (John 16:13,14) Many labor to do great things for God. They think they’re doing Him service. But when we are not walking as Christ walked, in sensitive obedience to the leading of God, our works are not good.
We are to be zealous in serving the Lord. (Rom. 12:11) But zeal is only good when it is attached to a good thing. “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing …” (Gal. 4:18) One day it will be known whether the deeds done in our body were of, by, and for God; or they were of, by, and for ourselves. Wood, hay, and stubble will be consumed by fire; gold, silver, and precious stones will receive heaven’s reward. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
May we not be surprised when we stand before God that our labor was in vain. Let us cultivate a sensitivity to the God who works in us to will and do of His pleasure. Would you glorify God? What He is working in and through you is guaranteed to bring Him glory.