The Target of the Shine

January 24, 2023

Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16 NLT

“Who are you trying to impress?”

That’s a challenging question. It means “Whose attention are you trying to attract?” If you asked a random sampling of Christians who they hope will notice the good things they do and the way they live their lives, some would say they want to be noticed by God, to impress and please Him. Others might not want to admit it, but total transparency would force an admission that they honestly hope other Christians will recognize how faithful and good they are. Perhaps some hope their impeccable lives will in some way validate them to their hyper-critical relatives.

Who does Jesus want us to impress?

Not God. We are fully known by Him. He loves us and knows all about us, inside and out. We couldn’t impress Him no matter how hard we try, and we don’t need to try. Nothing I do will make Him love me more. Nothing I don’t do will make Him love me less. He’s not throwing out tests and trials to see how well I score.

He doesn’t want me to live to impress other Christians either. He wants us to love and serve each other regardless of the response. There is to be no scorekeeping in His kingdom, so trying to be impressive within our Christian community is foolish—wasted as far as Jesus is concerned.

How about my critics? Jesus lived a perfect life, but He certainly didn’t impress His critics. His perfect love and service didn’t silence them. It would be futile for me to try.

Who needs to notice my light? Jesus stated it clearly. I am to be His light to the world. As I shine my light for all to see, the purpose is to direct everyone’s attention to my Father in heaven. The purpose for my light is not that people will see what a great person I am and praise me; the purpose is for people to see God in who I am and how I live. My life shows His love, compassion, grace, and mercy. People are drawn to the One who loves them through me.

  • Jesus, I confess I can easily get caught up in what people think of me. I open my heart to You. I give You my hands and feet, my voice and my mind. I want to use every part of me to direct the attention of those who see me to You.