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Being Salt and Light

{Matthew 5:13-16; NLT}
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world–like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father”

Jesus in his teachings used everyday examples to help people understand what he was trying to say. That is exactly what we discover in this passage. Jesus used two common element, salt and light, to illustrate his teaching.

Jesus wanted his followers to be the salt of the earth. What does that mean? If we take a look at salt, we discover certain qualities that Jesus wants Christians to have. One quality is that of purity. The white color of salt conveys a message of purity, that the salt is free from contamination. Jesus wants us to be pure, free from the contamination of sin.

Salt is also a preservative. Until the invention of refrigerators one of the ways people preserved meat was to heavily salt it. The salt held the decay at bay. Jesus desires people to be preservatives, by introducing people to the Word of God and the life giving Gospel.

Salt also gives flavor. Salt is the most common seasoning that we use. We would find many foods to be bland without the salt they contain. In the same way a Christian life should be one that adds “flavor” to life. Many people make the mistake by believing that the Christian life is dull and boring, when the opposite is true. The true Christian life is full of joy, fellowship, and meaning.

Salt is also an irritant. If you have a cold sore and salt gets into it while you are eating, the cold sore begins to sting. It reminds us that we have a sore. At times the Christian should be an irritant. By the way we live we should sting the conscious of the world, reminding them of the evil they are doing. Jesus wants his followers to be the salt of the earth.

Jesus also said that his followers should be the light of the world. What did Jesus mean? Light is meant to be seen. In a dark room when a light is turned on, darkness disappears. We use light so we can see our surroundings. Jesus wants people to see his followers. He wants the world to see a contrast between God’s way and Satan’s way.

Light also serves as a guide. For years sailors would plot their course by the lights in the sky, the stars would guide them to the destination. Even today we will move to the light when we find ourselves in the dark. A Christian should serve as a guide, helping people find Jesus.

Light also serves as a warning. Lighthouses warn of dangerous waters and the lights on the dashboard of a car warn of potential problems. Christians should be willing to warn the world about the consequences of their lifestyles. We are to be the light of the world.

Jesus not only taught that his followers should be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” but that is also how He lived. Jesus is our example. Will we get out of the salt shaker and "season" life? Will we let our light shine for all to see? Will we follow Jesus?


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