January 9 I Wednesday
“You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world.” —Matthew 5:13-14
The most important thing about any of us is not what we do but what we are. What we do is important of course, but this never speaks as loudly as what we are. What people see in us determines how they feel about us, which determines how effectively they receive what they hear from us.
To the person defined by the eight beatitudes, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.” Both salt and light affect their environment. As salt, our lives are to be a preservative, maintaining that which is perishing, and to be a purifier of the culture around us. Being a Christian gives flavour to life in the form of beauty and purpose, and our interactions with others should create in them a thirst for relationship with God like we have. As light, our lives are intended to be a message that people can read. We derive our illumination from Christ, who places us in the world to repel darkness and show others the way to Him.
Jesus warns, however, that salt can lose its saltiness and that lights can be hidden under bowls (Matthew 5:13, 15). There is no guarantee of perpetual “saltiness” or perpetual “light.” Both must be maintained through disciplined dependency on God or we will inevitably be “thrown out and trampled under foot”
(Matthew 5:13). This primarily occurs when we allow worldliness to infiltrate our lives.
Worldliness is an attitude of life that seeks the fulfillment of our own desires, the satisfaction of our own agendas and the feeding of our own egos. Such an attitude is to be resisted at all costs. Living worldly has little to do with the environment in which we live and work but everything to do with the attitudes that govern us within them. Jesus’s prayer for His disciples just before His arrest and crucifixion was “...not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.” In Christ, we are no longer of this world, but just as the Father sent Christ into the world, Jesus now sends us into the world (John 17:15-18).
Worldliness is to be resisted, but the world itself is our workshop. It is in our day to day lives and relationships that our words and actions become an exhibition of the Lord Jesus Christ to those around us. We have no grounds for opting out of the world; rather, we are mandated by Christ to go into the world, equipped by His indwelling presence, to function as salt and to shine forth as light in a way that impacts.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for making me the salt and light of the world. Help me to resist worldliness, letting my words and actions clearly display Your life so that others might be drawn to You as well.