From Christ’s Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
During recent meditations on Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, I asked myself, “What if American Christians lived how Christ commanded? What if our daily walk looked so foreign to others, it would make them ask, ‘Why are they so different?’”
Reviewing the years of my life, I can only think of eight to nine individuals who have shone the light of Christ in my work environments. And this is over a thirty-two year period! More striking is that most of my observations came early in my career.
When I was much younger, I often thought of how “Christian fundamentalists” in the workplace were not career-oriented or politically savvy. You see, I criticized their dispositions back then, but now I know better. Even though I maligned them within my thoughts, years later, I recognize the light they emitted.
Am I describing individuals who were always proselytizing in the workplace? No. I am speaking of the faithful who spoke and conducted themselves in a manner that was counter to the culture. They were different; they stood out. It was apparent they were Christ-followers.
Beyond encountering Christian lifestyles at work, I recall only one situation in the past decade when someone tried to evangelize me in a public setting. This was at a service station when a young man with the heart of Christ asked me if I knew Jesus. When I told him that I did, we both connected instantly. I was thankful for my young brother. I don’t remember his name today, but I cannot wait to see him again in Heaven. He was a light for Jesus.
But unfortunately, the willingness to shine for Christ seems dim in 2024. Where are the Christians? You just don’t see a conviction for Him outside of church buildings or beyond social media. Outside of our safe places, the silence is deafening. This observation brings me to Matthew 5:13-16.
Salt of the Earth
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus’ referral to salt connects to the way in which the genuine Christian walk exposes and stymies decay in the world. The effective Christ-follower’s path will serve as a preservative within the rot of this world. In addition to opposing deterioration, I also think about how salt can sting when poured into an open wound. The born-again Christian will not only reflect Christ’s truth, but in most cases, that reflection will provide offense to a dark world.
Besides being a preservative, salt serves as a flavor enhancer. The salt of the earth Jesus speaks of provides a unique “seasoning” to this temporal existence. The world system dislikes the flavor, but the aftertaste points to eternity.
However, if we do not walk in Christ’s path, we become useless for Yahweh’s Kingdom as we are engulfed and trampled on by Satan’s kingdom. As the salt of the earth, we must stand with Christ or with the world’s desires. There’s no middle ground.
Light of the World
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
According to Matthew 5:14-16, the light of God within believers cannot be hidden. True followers will reflect Christ and give all credit to Him. Through the Holy Spirit's power, they will demonstrate God’s will through their actions. These fruits (Galatians 5:22-23) are evident by dedication to His holiness. Additionally, those who are born-again will not deny Christ in public (Matthew 10:32-33). As a matter of fact, His name flows from their lips in conversations.
Finally, under the New Covenant, born-again Christians are empowered to become more Christlike. Thanks to His love for us, we have the benefit of being equipped with the Spirit of God. Each of us can be that city upon the hill projecting Jesus’ light for the rest of the world to see. When you think about it, it’s a tremendous privilege and an exciting opportunity!
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way,if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. Be ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and o be subject to one another in the fear p of Christ.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1 Peter 2:11-12
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.