Matthew 5 is Jesus’ manifesto for His followers. The Sermon on the Mount acts as a guide on being a man or woman of God, addressing the attitudes and behaviors of Christians, which go hand in hand.
Have you ever sat down to eat with someone who puts an insane amount of salt on their food? Are you that person?
Or what about that friend who picks up the saltshaker and begins shaking it all over their plate before tasting their food? These people are a prayer request waiting to happen.
Jesus makes two defining statements about His followers, the first being, “You are the salt of the earth.”
In Jesus’ day, salt had a vital purpose. For example, if a person wanted to extend the shelf life of meat would cover it completely with salt to prevent meat from spoiling. This is the context in which Jesus calls Christians to be the salt of the earth.
Christians are to delay the decay of humanity and civilization until Jesus returns.
Take, for example, Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asked if there were 50 righteous people would God spare the cities? Abraham negotiated God down to 5 righteous people, and not even five righteous people were to be found.
God would have spared the entire city if he had found just five righteous people.
Christians are a safety net, slowing the spread of sin and giving people time to turn from their destructive habits.
Too often, Christians run from the same areas we are meant to preserve. I’m not referring to areas of personal safety.
But if you look at the churches in the New Testament, they are right in the middle of the morally and spiritually dark spaces.
Darkness cannot obstruct light. On the contrary, light pierces the darkness.
God’s instructions have a purpose. They are not meant to control or keep us busy but reveal His glory to the world. God’s glory is His invisible attributes made visible to those around us.
Faith living draws attention to God because it makes a fool of what makes sense. For example:
- Instead of getting angry, we choose meekness.
- Instead of hoarding, we choose to give.
- Instead of panicking over our circumstances, we choose peace.
When we live apart from faith, we deny God’s glory from being displayed.
After describing how we are to be salt in the world, Jesus said (paraphrase), “If salt loses its saltiness, what good is it?” What He means is as salt, if we don’t live how we are called to, then what good are we?
The world needs preserving. If we don’t, what good is our faith?
Jesus then makes a second declaration about His followers: “You are the light of the world.”Light makes everything better.
Cooking or dicing tomatoes is not an activity to be done in the dark. Navigating a dark room after your children were playing with Legos on the floor will humble even the strongest among us.
When Christians walk by faith, they illuminate the earth, giving a clear view of God and revealing truth to the world.
As light to the world, we expose the emptiness of sin and bring hope. Authentic, non-condemning Christianity shows people how to know God and creates a desire for Him.
Did you know the moon’s light does not originate from the moon? Instead, the moon shines because its surface reflects light from the sun.
Likewise, we are reflections of Jesus. Light does not emit from or originate within us; we are mere reflections of His light.
And the purpose of light is to illuminate. So lighting a lamp and then covering it up makes no sense. We nullify the purpose of light by covering it up and miss an opportunity to make God known.
Faith is to be lived out loud. Faith is not a private matter. Keeping our faith quiet and not living set apart is the equivalent of having no faith at all.
So how do we reflect light in the world?
“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 5:16
We must be intentional about doing good works so that people see them.
Whenever you’re praised for doing something well, by deflecting that praise to the source, we glorify God and acknowledge how we are merely a reflection. That’s what it means to let our light shine.
Obedience enhances our reflection so that the world will see God in us. This is why obedience is such a big deal and why it’s essential that we live by faith and not by sight.
In what ways are you salt and light to the world?
Living by faith and obeying God’s instructions enhances our reflection and increases God’s glory to the world around us!