“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-16 MSG
Does that describe the twenty-first century church today? Does it describe you and me? Do we bring flavor to a bland, desperately lost world? Do we light up the dark places we enter into? Does the atmosphere change whenever we show up? These are all great questions. But what’s even better are our answers. Are we hesitant to respond or are we honest to say, not all the time. Whether we are ready to admit our shortcomings or not, the thing we need to understand is this: Jesus was not making a suggestion. He said this is who we are!
Whether we’re being salt and light may be debatable, but the sooner we get onboard with God the better. There’s a whole entire generation including creation waiting to see the manifestation of the sons of God. We can all agree that bland food, no matter how delectable it may look on the plate, is a letdown when the presentation doesn’t match the taste. It is equally true when we promise someone a good time and when they show up for the party they find that you had to cancel because there’s no light at the house because you didn’t pay your electricity bill. Disappointments happen in life. We all have faced them. But ignoring what you know should be done is an excuse that causes disappointment for someone who was depending on or looking up to you.
When Jesus told His followers that they were the main ingredient to the world, it must’ve been a daunting challenge to them. But He wasn’t asking them to be something they weren’t already. Once we become a follower of Jesus Christ, we are immediately translated from darkness into light. The transformation is so stark that we can only hide it by deliberately trying to do so. But we no longer fit the old garment so we become like a square peg in a round hole. Light can’t hide. It’s impossible. Try turning a light on and locking the door. Turn out all the other lights in the house. What do you see? That light is doing what it is intended to do, pushing at the darkness that’s surrounding it. You’ll be able to find your way around just by the peaks of light shining through the cracks in the room. That’s who we are. The world may be darkness all around us, but by merely showing up our light peers through.
That’s why Christians who want to act like the world lose their influence. They lose their flavor so to speak. They become good for nothing. We were not born again to hide or blend in. I know Christianity isn’t popular with some, but we’re not in a popularity contest with unbelievers. Paul wrote that they don’t understand spiritual things because they’re not on the same level we are. Why then are we trying to become like them? We don’t need to join them to win them. All we need to be is who we already are. Salt and light. Salt does two things: Flavor or sting. It will flavor food or sting in a wound. The diet of the world without Jesus is bland. They only know one recipe -sin and more sin. The recipe for the child of God has nine ingredients which produces a generous amount of flavor to a life desperate for something better.
Here’s the contrast between salt and light. Not salt and darkness. No Christian should be living both. It creates confusion for us and others.
“My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are contrary to each other, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? * * * It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.”
Galatians 5:16-21 MSG
Is that dark or what? Is that tasteless or what? That’s why we are called out so we can expose those that live this way to the light of Christ in us. Now look at what salt and light brings to a life.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.”
Galatians 5:22-23 MSG
We become living epistles, cities on a hill, lights on lamp stands, salty and flavorful. We attract people to a Savior who offers more than merely existing. This is our contribution to the world. When we choose to follow God’s way by adhering to His Word, we become world changers. We have been chosen for this. Let us not take it lightly this assignment we’ve been given. We effect change wherever we show up. Everyone should know whether we open our mouths or not, that there’s something different about us. But when we do open our mouths, life, light, love, salt and peace should flow freely. People should want to be around us like they wanted to be around Jesus. His light should shine brightly through us. Our speech should be a dead giveaway that we have been with Him. If people have to wonder who we are because we’re sending mixed signals, that’s a problem. What we say is equally as important as what we aren’t saying. We should all pray this prayer as light bearers.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Remember what I said earlier. It’s impossible to hide light, especially in a dark room. You can have too much salt, but never when it comes to being salty for Christ. Sometimes what we need to say may sting. But when our motive is clear it should convict but never condemn. When we use what we’ve been given in the way it was intended, we will bring glory to Our Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus said He’s the true Light of the world. But now He has given us the mandate to continue shining His light to our generation. May we be who we are. Not who we are trying to be. Light doesn’t think about being light, it just is. Salt doesn’t think about being salty, it just is. A city on a hill stands out even while surrounded by mountains. Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot change the Words of Jesus concerning us. It wasn’t a suggestion as I said earlier. We are called to be, it’s our contribution to the world.
Go be the 💡 shine wherever you find darkness, bring the flavor of love, hope and grace. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 AMPC
If we’ll be who we are, the world will follow our light and recognize that it is Christ in us and give glory to God. Light be!
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
February 1, 2022