In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Many of us read this verse, but, do we understand what it really means? We know we are supposed to be a “light” but how do we do that? Why does Jesus want us to be a light?
As we discuss and learn about being a light to this world many of these questions can be answered. Clearly from the text we can see that we have a mission that Jesus needs us to complete. It takes a lot of courage and integrity, and not everybody thinks that the job is for them. ‘Its too overwhelming’ one might think. But actually the task is simple but takes a life commitment to complete. We will notice that as His disciples and servants, this world needs more light to guide its dark path.
To be this “light” Jesus talks about we must first understand what it means to be a light. But I would like to point something out before we dig any deeper. Just before this, Jesus tells us we are the salt of the earth. (vv13) Still, what does that mean? Well Jesus says “if the salt loses its flavor how can it be made salty again?” Jesus is referring us to salt here. But why does Jesus refer us to salt of the earth? The answer is simple: we have a meaning and a purpose to our lives. Ponder about it for a little, salt has a purpose, it is used for flavoring and preserving mostly food and we also need salt in our body. We also have a purpose, and that purpose is to add a little flavoring to this world, give meaning to it and lead others to salvation. But, then there’s the next question Jesus asks, “If salt loses its saltiness (or flavor) how can it be made salty again?” What he is saying is that if you, as a human, lose your zest for life it can’t be restored. You are living in this world unconsciously, just like everyone else. There is hope though. God has a salvation plan and it has been completed by Christ. He is our “restorer”, he can forgive us of our iniquities and put the zest and “salt” back into our lives. And this point leads right into the main part of this article, how do we be a light?
Now that we have discussed that, lets talk about being a light. “Being a light” just means being an example to the world. That’s it! All it means is to be an example and a leader of this world. You don’t have to have any special degrees in education, (the disciples weren’t, Acts 4:13) or a minister who travels the world to spread the Word. It simply means to be an example and that is how we are to be a light. By being an example of Christ.
Acting differently than everyone else is just one way to be an example. Romans 12:12 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We do not need to take part in the evil that is in this world, we can’t fall into the trap of sin. Yet we don’t need to seclude ourselves from everyone else and live in isolation. Proverbs 18:1 says “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire…” We need to live just as Christ did, working and living for/in the name of the Lord.
Mark 16:15 tells us “..Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Of course this is a way to be a light! But, how do we preach the gospel? Some might say in denial of preaching “I don’t know enough”, “I can’t speak in front of people i get to nervous”, “I will get made fun of” Although these may be true you don’t have to get up in front of a large crowd and speak just as the apostles or Jesus did to spread the word. Just talking with someone one on one about Jesus and salvation can have an enormous effect on someone’s life. We must also face the facts though that many won’t listen (2 Timothy 4:3) but we can’t get discouraged. In Luke 15:7 Jesus says, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” But we have to keep on living our lives for Christ and not for this world.
We must also realize that we will be persecuted for living in the name of Christ. Matthew 24:9 tells us we will be persecuted for his name’s sake. But don’t let that get you down. It will happen it happened to the apostles many times, they were run out-of-town, flogged, stoned, the list goes on and on. Yet they endured the suffering and they even rejoiced in it. Acts 5:41 says the apostles left the Sanhedrin because they had been worthy of suffering for Christ. We need to be like the apostles. Rejoice when we suffer because of Christ, having a positive approach to every situation will be noticed.
As you have probably noticed, there are all sorts of ways to be a light to this dark world, and there are many more that have not been discussed here. Sometimes our bulb needs replacing , sometimes we get so worn down we need a replacement to brighten our light again. Jesus is that bulb. And our way to him is prayer, ask him to help you be a light and i guarantee he will help you. Jesus is the light of this world (John 8:12), and he suffered for our sins and we need to carry on the work he has started. That is our mission in life. To carry on the work of Christ in which he started and has called us to carry it on. Being a light and salt of the earth is the way to accomplish that mission.