Bible with Cross ShadowYou are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

In this saying of Jesus, He moves from the potential conditions of the Beatitudes – states of being that are only possible through His life – to the absolute reality of our existence as salt and light. Notice He did not say His disciples “would be” salt and light. Here, at the beginning, without training and revelation, without death, burial and resurrection, they are salt and light; as are we.

This reminds me that it was soon after calling them that Jesus sent them to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the surrounding towns and villages (Mark 6:7-12). Apparently, their willingness to follow Him created, or released, something in their being. There is a very powerful suggestion here that a follower of Jesus Christ can be immediately effective in ministry. If it was true for the first disciples, how much more for those that have His resurrected life and the Holy Spirit’s power?

So, what do we “do” with these salt and light sayings? Let me suggest a few things for your prayerful consideration:

  1. Jesus’ saying regarding our saltiness infers that we should flavor the earth around us. We should make it better. My dad taught me to leave things better than I found them (e.g., clean up more than the mess I made). This applies to everything we touch, but mostly to the people with whom we engage. In other words, we are to be the aroma of life to them (2Corinthians 2:16). Otherwise, we are somewhere between useless and the aroma of death.
  2. Secondarily, we must do whatever is necessary to maintain – and perhaps improve – the intensity and attractiveness of our flavor. The normal Christian life consists of several maturation processes that are to be continual and progressive (e.g., belief, transformation, sanctification, salvation). Following Jesus Christ is a sacrificial journey that must be endured to the end.
  3. In regards to our being the light of the world, we are to be obvious, and of service to all in the house. This is perhaps easier understood in terms of what we should not be doing. We should not be hiding, and we should not be self-serving.
  4. Notice that verse 16 does not say “go do good works”. That is not the “doing” of this saying. Our response to this saying is to “let your light shine before men”. Our light is the life of Jesus Christ (John 1:4). Our doing is letting the Holy Spirit, through transformation, remove our self-centered and carnal nature; that we would become the very same image as the Lord’s glory (2Corinthians 3:18).

    “Let” is a small but powerful word in Scripture. Many times letting something happen is the hardest thing to do. In this case, it means getting out of God way; so He can do the work that will bring Him glory. If we want the glory, we will do the work; but it will not be His. If you are interested in more on this, check out The Life that Glorifies our Father in Heaven.

In closing, let me remind you that God is working in us to will and to do to His good pleasure; which is to give us His kingdom (Philippians 2:13; Luke 12:32). He is faithful and persistent in His work. He will complete what He has begun, if we will let Him. Choose today, right now, to let Him have His way.

Humbly yours and forever His,