In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus tells us that we are the salt and light of the world, but often times it’s not played out as such, or we don’t see it that way. Don’t we feel that most of the times we can’t be lights? Don’t most of us at times in life feel completely useless? Whether we feel useless or not, we can, and will, give our world a taste and glimpse of Christ.
Salt of the Earth
So a little background, right before this, at the end of chapter 4, Jesus had just called his first disciples and is now becoming a little famous. At the end of the last chapter Matthew says, “24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”
And then he gives the sermon on the mount starting with the beatitudes, and the beatitudes are like declarations of blessedness, joy and prosperity. And after that we get out text, about being salt and light and basically what Jesus is saying is if you are meek, hungry for God, merciful, pure in heart, you are blessed, and if you are blessed then be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Now salt has certain properties but were gonna focus on two. First, Salt enhances. Salt brings out the flavor in food, it brings out it’s richness. When I was younger I read this and said, “So what? were gonna make the world more fun? Make it taste better?”, because I thought the only way to make things better was to make them more fun! But that’s not it at all. What it means is this: just like salt brings out the richness and flavor of food, we are to bring out the richness of God into the world.
The message words this verse perfectly. “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.” (MSG) We as believers are called to be salt seasoning and to bring out God into our world. In every situation we must see God and bring him out. When there is strife we must throw some slat on it and bring out the peace of God. When there is misery, we must throw some salt on it and bring out the comfort of God. In every situation we have to throw salt on it and show our world how great our God is.
Life changes, stuff happens, and when those lows and highs come and go we have to be the salt for our world. We have to show them the peace, mercy, comfort, and faithfulness of God.
Salt’s second property is preservation. Salt preserves. And just like salt preserves food, we must preserve our world from evil. Every man and woman has a sin nature, and as Christians it’s our job to preserve the spiritual qualities within them. Now I looked up how salt actually preserves meat and it’s interesting how it correlates to the spiritual.
First, salt keeps bad bacteria from growing by producing good bacteria. Think of that for a second. The way to keep food fresh is to grow the opposite bigger and better. Our words have to be that good bacteria. There’s a whole lot of bad bacteria in our world, which means our good bacteria must be bigger and better every time. Our good bacteria are our words, our actions and our attitudes. When we see our world going through a really negative time, we have to be ten times as positive. When we see someone being mean, we have to be ten times more kind. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV) That’s one way we preserve our world, by saying words and having an attitude that build up instead of corrupt.
Second, salt keeps food fresh by cutting off what the bacteria feeds off of, so in the spiritual we have to cut off our world from what feeds its sin. Now, this does not mean we storm our friend’s houses and throw away all their bad CD’s and TV and Computers, etc. God is the one who cuts them off of those things, we just aid in the process. We aid by giving godly advice and instruction on how to cut off those things.
After awhile salt begins to become poisonous against any bad, and coupled with water it’s almost unstoppable! If we are drinking our spiritual water, the word of God, and if were spending intimate time with him, our godly influence on the world will be unstoppable. So to sum it all up we are salt by bearing with one another and stick with our world no matter what happens.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:1-2 (ESV))
Which leads us to our next verse “but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matt 5:13 (ESV)) We loose our saltiness when we do not fill ourselves up with God and his word. If we have nothing in us then we have nothing to give, and therefore we are useless.
Light of the World
If you are being salt to your earth then you are being a light to your world. If you are bringing out the richness of God in every situation, and by His power are preserving your world, then His light shines through you. It’s that simple. But everyday we have the tendency to do the exact opposite of verse 15.
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:15 (ESV))
It seems to me that in our lives, my own included, the brighter our light shines the more we try to hide it. I think the main reason we hide it is because we are scared. Now some of you will directly deny that, I did too. But think for a second. I’m not afraid of being made fun of either if someone else is asking me the questions, or if someone else asks me about my faith. But as soon as I feel the tug to tell some random person that’s walking on the street about my faith, I cringe in fear. The light of God shines bright in that moment and I smother it with a basket.
We run into some issues when doing that. For one, we are turning away from the mission God has set in front of us. And by rejecting His mission we ultimately end up rejecting Him. Secondly, I would contend that in the moments where we are unwilling to share the Gospel and the heart of God with utter strangers, we ourselves are not letting the Gospel and heart of God move in us. In the moments that we truly “Know that the Lord, he is God!” we will be unable and unwilling to keep it to ourselves.
Let God move your heart. Let the very name of Jesus make you so emotional that you have no choice but to shout from the mountain tops and share it with the nations.
Note: Notice I say our world. This means we are responsible for our direct sphere of influence (friends, family, co-workers, anyone within an arms reach) a.k.a. our world.
For His Glory
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15 (ESV))
In everything the ultimate goal of being the salt and light of the earth is to glorify God. Our good works reveal the holiness of God. For He alone is worth of every praise.
So be the salt and light of your world. Glorify your Father in heaven. Give everything you have for His glory.