From Liz Groman
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 salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:13-14 MSG. Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Matthew's chapters 5-7 are one of my frequent spots to visit, especially when I need to be reminded that this life I live is not about what I get out of it but rather what I allow Him to get out of living in and through me. These 2 verses about light and salt always stop me - wake me up, make me take notice, cause me to read them as if it were the first time - as I read over the familiar passages, reminding me to really pay attention to not only the words in these 3 chapters but also how the Holy Spirit wants me to allow Him to express Himself in and through me NOW. The picture He gave me many years ago remains with me. He asks me to be a simple, unadorned lantern, an instrument to carry/bear His light everywhere He takes me, so that all I meet will have His light shine upon him/her so he/she may find the way out of his/her personal darkness. For when someone is lost in the darkness, it is the light itself and not the match/flashlight/lantern/or other light-bearing instrument that leads the way out.
These verses are a place where I meet Jesus face-to-face every time I come, asking Him to judge my obedience, my willingness to be a living sacrifice, a good and faithful servant. Here is where I ask the Holy Spirit to inspect my heart, my motives, my thoughts toward others, especially. Those who make it so hard to love them! How clean is the glass in my lantern? How brightly is Jesus shining through my life? Have I allowed myself to dim/obscure His pure light by mucking up the glass with my human pride, my selfish/stingy desires, offenses I have not forgiven, my personal life challenges/burdens, the cultural muck of this world, the decoration of religion? I ask Him to give a good scrubbing to my soul, my heart, my attitude, my perspective, my mercy/compassion for the unlovely, so my glass will be invisible as His light shines through to pierce the darkness.
Lord, more and more I recognize in Your Word that You are asking me to be concerned with my relationship with You first and others second. If I will heed Your Word and submit myself completely, fully, absolutely to You and become Your good and faithful servant toward others, You will provide all I need physically, emotionally, spiritually. I fail You and let the light in me become darkness when I neglect these two relationships and focus on me - what I think I need, how badly I am being treated, what is wrong with others, what I get out of it. So, Lord Jesus, by Your Holy Spirit scrub me clean, wash me again in the Blood of Your sacrifice and the water of Your Word so that Your light might shine brightly/clearly and pierce the darkness around me so that others will find escape by embracing the freedom of living in Your light. In Jesus' name, make it so, Father God.