“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 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.” – Matthew 5:13-16
Why would Jesus tell His disciples to be salty? As a child, it seemed bizarre to me that Jesus would want His children to be salty. I remember my mom would buy a container of salt from the grocery store that had a little girl on it holding an umbrella. That was really all I knew about salt. But as strange as Jesus’ words might initially sound to the ear, His words were sound advice.
Jesus described the impact that His followers were to have in relation to those around them. He told them to be salty. So what are the character traits of a “salty” Christian?
To begin with, salt makes a person thirsty. Christians are to live their life in such a way that they cause the people they come in contact with to thirst for God. Secondly, salt seasons. Jesus was simply saying, “You are to be the flavor of the earth.” This dark world that we live in must have our flavorful presence radiating the love of Jesus Christ. Thirdly, salt penetrates. Salt solutions are sprayed on icy roads. Why; because the salt penetrates the ice on the road, causing the ice to melt and dissolve. So too, we must also impact and penetrate the hardness of our society in such a way that we melt away the hardness, and penetrate the hearts and lives of those around us with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Fourth, salt heals. Have you ever swum in the ocean? If you had a cut somewhere on your body while you were swimming, the salt water caused it to sting. Obviously it wasn’t comfortable, but it sped up the healing process. This same principle applies within the life of the Christian. There is hurt all around us. Because of this, we are to be healers and restorers, not hurters and destroyers! Finally, salt preserves. Salt is used on meat to store it and to keep it fresh. Christians are called to preserve the message of Jesus. This is done by sharing the gospel with our children and our grandchildren, and preserving and keeping the biblical truths that are found within the Bible.
The next statement He makes is just as intriguing. He informs them that they are “the light of the world.” What did Jesus mean, and what does light do? To begin with, light provides direction. Imagine trying to drive around in the dark without your headlights on. You probably would get nowhere! But light helps one see more clearly as it pierces the darkness. The Christian is called to be the light of the world. Part of that job description is illuminating the path that will lead others to Christ. We should live in such a way that people are drawn to the light of God, because we ourselves are shining the light of God with His Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Secondly, light reveals truth. Some people have poor lighting in their bathrooms over the mirror, so that they will not have to see what they really look like. But good lighting will reveal everything, and will reveal the truth. Thirdly, light brings comfort. As a child, as do most children, I had a night light in my bedroom. I was afraid of the dark, but my “Oscar the Grouch Sesame Street” night light brought me comfort. As Christians, we are to bring the comfort of Christ to those lost in darkness. Finally, light gives off reflection. The way that we live our lives should be solely and purely motivated by a desire to reflect Jesus Christ. Reflect the testimony of Jesus by reflecting His heart in the way you live.
Take these principles about salt and light and use them to glorify God in every aspect and avenue of your life.
– Pastor Eric