Today David read from Matthew 5:13-16 to focus on the third aspect of the relationship triangle, the OUT dimension of our lives as Christians. This considers how we relate to and love those who are not yet Christians – our neighbours, friends and others that we meet day to day.
Salt and Light are well known missional metaphors, yet we need to ask God to refresh our understanding of these, so that the outward dimension of our lives is truly others orientated, making us available to point people to Jesus with our lips and our lives every day.
You are the salt of the earth (v.13) … You are the light of the world (v.14)
The words ‘You are’ should not be isolated from the blessed life of those in vv.3-11, which highlights eight characteristics of the Kingdom of God and those who are part of it.
As you consider the OUT dimension of your life and how you witness to people in your community, the presence of these eight characteristics identify you as a disciple of Jesus. Moreover, the words ‘You are’ in vv.13 and 14 are directed to each of us individually and should be translated ‘You and you alone are.’ Therefore, by living this way ‘you are’ the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Have you considered how these eight characteristics are reflected in your life and your heart right now? Why not pray for a deeper and growing awareness of yourself as salt and light, so that you don’t abdicate or downplay the OUT dimension of your life.
Salt may not be a treasured commodity today but in Jesus’ day it was viewed as vital and valued. By describing his followers as the salt of the earth he sees them as a precious and important presence. Likewise, as a follower of Jesus today who points people to Jesus, you are a precious and important presence in your street, in your community and in the world.
Salt was also an essential preservative in the 1st Century. By using this metaphor for his disciples, Jesus presents the opportunity for his followers today to have a life-impacting preserving presence in the world. As we consider the OUT dimension of our lives and how we relate to our friends and neighbours who are not yet Christians, we are to be a community of people who make a positive difference. You are the salt of the earth.
It is incredible to think that Jesus ‘The light of the world’ speaks directly about and to each one of us with these words. As Jesus shines light into our lives we, as the light of the world, should radiate this light to the people around us.
Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault among sinful and evil people. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. You will shine as you hold on tight to the word of life (Philippians 2:15)
In these verses the apostle Paul encourages the people not to grumble or argue but to be grateful and conciliatory, and they will shine like stars. We also learn from these verses that if we hold the living Word and written Word of God at the heart and hub of our lives, we will shine like stars.
As you embrace the eight characteristics of verses 3-11, or do good things to others (v.16) you bring glory to God and point people in the Father’s direction. You are the light of the world.
When it comes to the OUT dimension of our lives, we must live as salt and light in our communities and beyond. May we live out our identity because you and I are both these things.