“Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don’t hold up both truth in tension, you invariably becomes useless and separated from the world God loves.” – David Kinnaman
There are many types of Christians. Some who share love, some mercy, some share knowledge and scripture, some share grace, some are active in the Church, etc. Sometimes a Christian will share all of these things and more. In other cases, Christians attend church on Sunday and leave it at that.
What kind of Christian are you? One way to answer that is to consider whether we are salt and light. Matthew 5:13-16 says: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
While the Christian reads the Bible, non-Christians read our lives. We as Christians are always called to be the salt and light of the world, as this is what God has commanded us to do. As we dwell in this topic, what does being salt and light mean? What application does it have to being Christians today?
Salt has many functions, amongst such is to enhance the taste of the food, to kill bacteria, and to preserve food. Are we doing our best to preserve God’s truth and His message of love, are we standing up for the values that God wants us to uphold in our lives? The question is how good salt do we make? An easy implication to draw from here is – are we standing up for the right things God has commanded us to do? Are we demonstrating His love? Are we enhancing and preserving what God wants us to?
Salt that loses its saltiness is useless. Jesus’ teaching is challenging. There is little room for those who are Christians, but who have lost their saltiness, or their “edge”. Without the testimony of lives lived out with integrity and consistency with the principles that Christians claim to follow, the testimony of our lips is useless. This does not require us to be perfect. In fact, knowing our sinfulness, and knowing our need to confess it and be forgiven is a vital part of the Christian gospel.
In older days, people did not have the advantage of electricity, so, they had no light. Life was 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of extreme darkness. Most people are uncomfortable in the dark. When Christ instructed us to be the salt and light of the world, He asked us all to let our lives shine before those we come in contact with. You are like a light for the world. Light shines on dark things and exposes what is there. This is a call to the church to challenge evil within our society, however uncomfortable this may be. The light that we bring, is not our own light – it is not who we are in ourselves, but rather the light of God shining through our lives as the Holy Spirit works through them. This doesn’t mean that we have to refer to God in every other sentence, but when the opportunity arises, we can share with another person the light that God has given us.
Don’t hide your light. We hide our light when we stay silent in the face of discussion which is contrary to that which we believe. We hide our light when we fail to accept and conform with behaviors that are not in line with Jesus’ teaching. We hide our light when we don’t care for the needs of others, and walk by on the other side. Think about the people we can encourage today. Being the light also depicts that we should be transparent to each other.
I believe this is what it means to be salt and light. It’s not about being nice. It’s not about mowing your neighbor’s yard. It’s not about building community, works of service, being cultural leaders, investing in others’ lives, or having your neighbors over for supper. Those are all very good things which should generally be manifested in our lives, but it’s not the point. The point is obedience to God from a pure heart because of who we are in Him.