We all are aware that even a pinch of salt enhances taste and transforms what is insipid to something palatable. Not just that, salt also prevents or delays corruption and decay. Similarly, with the presence of light, darkness disappears. Light illumines the path ahead and invites a burdened traveller to traverse well-lit paths rather than grope in darkness. Both salt and light are intricate characteristics of born-again, kingdom-minded followers of Christ who desire to live and abide by the word of God.
We, who are sojourners in this world, are called to be the salt and light of the world, bringing the good news of the life-transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ to a fallen, corrupt, and depraved world, inviting others to experience Him firsthand and ‘taste and see’ the goodness of our Lord. Our love, fellowship, generosity, kindness and goodness are not of our own, rather we reflect what we have ourselves received from God in the first place and channel that to others around us trusting the Lord to make a difference in their world for His honour and glory. We are to be instruments in God’s hands to be used by Him and draw people to Him through our life and example.
Our saltiness should bring taste in otherwise insipid lives and prevent the moral and ethical decay around us in our spheres of influence and the world at large. The light in us must point to the Light of this world. We, who once were blind and walked about aimlessly as slaves to the powers of darkness and evil in our lives, have now tasted and seen the Lord and have stepped into the light of Christ and have experienced abundant life in Him. Jesus Christ in John 8:12 said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me, will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” In the same way in John 12:46, He said “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” Just as He is the light, Jesus encourages us in Matthew 5:14–16 by saying, “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” We now have a mandate to be shining lights to others reflecting that light of Christ in our hearts and lives to draw others to the saving grace of Christ. The light of Christ in our lives must bring out into the open, deeds of darkness in our world and expose them so that they could be rooted out (Eph 5:11). That same light must guide the weary traveller to find rest and solace in the arms of Christ.
But, in our present world, with all the challenges, pressures and temptations that the evil one brings against us, how can we truly be salt and light in our world? What does that even mean in practical terms? Let’s be encouraged by means of three ways to be the salt and light in our world today.
1. We continually show and tell of the hope and life we have in Christ
In a despairing world, we have no way of offering any hope in and of ourselves, rather we can only point to the hope and life we have in Christ. We were once people without any hope but thanks to God and His grace that we have found hope for this life and the life to come. Any hope placed in things and people of this world is fleeting and is like building a house on shifting sands. But hope placed in Christ cannot be shaken and is like a house built on the solid rock. This hope that we have in Christ is to show and tell others who are without hope in this world. The joy of the gift of eternal life and the fellowship of a loving, gracious, merciful God ought to propel us to be mouthpieces for Jesus Christ. The challenge for Christians today, however, is to showcase this in both our words and deeds. As Christians, we may feel more comfortable talking about it through sermons and testimonies but living it out through our attitudes, actions, thoughts and behaviour can be unnerving for many. But we are called to do both—to show and tell. That is how we can truly honour God with our entire lives.
2. We consciously seek to expose the deeds of darkness in God-honouring ways
As salt and light in this world, we also seek to expose deeds of darkness in this world. We are not to be spectators of matters that are contrary to Christian values and principles, rather we are to be people who stand up for the truth, canvass for matters of justice and be channels of peace and love to others around us. Witnessing deeds of darkness should propel us to pray and seek God’s hand of favour and blessing and protection upon us and others as we seek to, with God’s strength and enabling, set things right in our fallen world. We strive with the Lord’s help to live out Christian values in this world in practical ways, so that through our active witness we can draw people close to Christ. This would mean speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. This would mean standing alongside the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden, the widows and the orphans and seeking justice for them. This would mean speaking for the cause of the unborn, the oppressed, the persecuted, the ones unjustly treated and many others. Jesus, during his life here on earth, did all that and so should we. Christians who have stepped in the light must stretch out their hearts and hands to rescue the ones who remain in darkness and point them to Jesus Christ.
3. We consistently turn our and others’ eyes to Jesus, the light of the world
Often Christians are tight-lipped about what they have experienced in Christ. Once alienated and cut off from God and totally unworthy of His love and mercy, there is nothing we’ve done in terms of good works to merit our salvation. It is purely the divine grace and mercy of God. However, we shy away from letting people know of the goodness and grace of God. We have tasted and seen and have been blessed by the immense love, mercy, forgiveness, and goodness of God in our lives (Psalm 34:8). However, we shy away from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others. The Scriptures encourage us to turn our eyes onto Jesus always (Hebrews 12:2). If our gaze shifts elsewhere, our eyes will become darkened, our walk of faith becomes shaky, and our lives clouded by worldly temptations and desires. Once we’ve experienced the light of God, we cannot walk in darkness anymore (Eph 5:8, Col 1:13, 1 Thess 5:5, Gal 5:16–17). The Spirit of God who resides in those who love Him cannot co-exist with the spirit of the world that rules among the people of the world. We ought to consistently turn our eyes to Jesus—our hope, our light, our Lord and our Saviour.