Matthew 5: 13-16
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
My heart can hardly contain the words swirling in my mind. It is past bed time, but I am unable to rest. The burden of New Year’s resolutions and the unrelenting shouts from my mental to-do list are overwhelming. As I am pondering the goals and wishes of tomorrow, I had to stop and spend some time meditating on God’s goals for me.
What does my Father want me to focus on? How can 2018 be used for His glory alone?
I’ve been camping out in “The Sermon on the Mount” for the last few weeks. In my strongest attempt to let these words soak in, I have read and reread Matthew 5-7. Jesus had just called the disciples and he was laying the foundation of who God was calling them to be. These are words for me (and for you). Though they were spoken some 2,000 years ago to the first disciples on a mountainside, Jesus is calling me to know the will of He who sent him.
The beatitudes open with descriptions of those who would be “blessed” and follow with things that would be brought to fruition in those who understood the message Jesus was bringing.
Here is where I’ll hang my hat: “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.”
What does this mean?
In the Old Testament, salt was used to preserve meat from rotting. Also, it was used for covenants. Two parties in business would seal promises or “covenants” by mixing salt. Each party would sprinkle salt into a single container in order to seal commitments. The salt could not be identified as belonging to one or the other and could not be returned to its owner. Therefore, it would bind and serve as a contract.
Our instruction, as believers, is to be the salt of the earth. Salt preserves and promises. There are so many ways to “be salt.” Is there rot, in the form of sin, that is tainting our walks with Christ? What about in the church? Are we preserving through church through serving? Do we need to be more dedicated in retaining “our saltiness” through study? Who are we sharing the promises of Jesus with?
There is no darkness in God. He is light. When we walk with Him, we walk in the light. 1 John tells us that “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” In this text, darkness and hatred are linked. To walk in the light is to walk in love.
We are called to be “salt” and preserve the body of believers through sharing truth. We are also called to be “light” by sharing this truth with love. One of my favorite quotes regarding this truth is by Tim Keller.
“Truth without grace is legalism. Grace without truth is useless.”- Timothy Keller
In light of these new understandings, it is important to note that light is not loud. Light, while it exposes darkness, does not shout or scream to shine. We must remember that our lives are a window for others witness the work of Christ in us. If we live fully intent on walking with Him and allowing the power of The Holy Spirit to transform us, light will be evident.
This year, I’m determined to focus on the fundamental instructions and desires God has for me. I’ll pray to grasp His Word more deeply and trust that His promises are true. I’ll commit and recommit myself to walking with Him through this year, ever dependent on Him for my next breath.