Week 2- Live Your Story Out
Your Story is Best Told When Lived Out Loud!
As salt and light, Christians bear the responsibility of representing Jesus to the world. The best way we can share Jesus is by telling and living our story as it meets His story!
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
What are some of your favorite foods that you simply cannot eat without salt? How do those foods taste without salt?
What did Jesus mean when He said believers are the salt of the earth?
What is the church’s role in serving and preserving culture? What part do you play in that picture?
How does light as a teaching tool in Jesus’ day compare with its function today?
In what situations do people tend to hide their light “under a basket”?
As a believer, you are a witness to who God is. How does living your story out loud reflect that?
What causes you to forget about the kingdom of God and your need for Him? How can you guard against that tendency?
It takes time to be salt and light. What changes can you make in your routine this week so you can spend more time around those who need God’s mercy and gentleness?
Reflect and pray for strength from to Christ to be the salt and light of the world so our lives honestly display God’s love and mercy to the world around you through your story.
Jesus explained in two word pictures the impact that a truly righteous person will have on his or her world. The entire sermon, including the Beatitudes before and the many teachings after, shows us how to live as “salt and light” in the world as representatives of another kingdom. These word pictures also serve Matthew’s purpose—to encourage believers to change their world (Matt. 28:18-20).
There are many lists of the uses of salt (v. 13), most of them inspired by Jesus’ statement here. However, among the many possible connotations, Jesus probably had two most centrally in His mind. First, salt preserves from corruption. In the centuries before modern refrigeration, salt was the method of choice for preventing bacteria from poisoning food. Just as salt prevents or kills bacteria in food, the kingdom servant prevents or confronts corruption in the world. Notice that it is the earth that needs the salt, not the kingdom of heaven. If the kingdom servant did not have a function to perform on earth according to God’s plan, he might as well go straight to heaven upon conversion.
The second function of salt is to add flavor or interest (Col. 4:5-6). Jesus highlighted this purpose when He spoke of the danger of salt losing its saltiness. Part of the church’s task on earth is to live according to its new nature—alive, purposeful, hopeful, joyful. Christians should be living in such a way that others will pause and consider what is different about them (1 Pet. 3:15). Believers are different and should appear so, because the Father is different (holy; 1 Pet. 1:15-16). The kingdom servant who does not live according to his nature as salt is useless to the king’s advancement of the kingdom on earth.
The picture of light (vv. 14-16) is similar to salt, in that both describe the influence the believer is to have in the world. However, it reveals a different facet of the believer’s influence. The function of light is to make reality or truth visible, thereby giving direction and guidance by what is seen. Jesus again used the emphatic “you,” and again clearly stated that this is already what a believer is, not something he might become. It is the nature of a kingdom servant to be light in the world. Any believer who fails to function as light is going against his nature as God’s new creation. The believer has no light inherent in himself. The believer’s light is a reflected light. Believers are to make certain that nothing comes between them and their source of light (2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 2:13-16).
Both a city on a hill (v. 14) and the lamp on its stand (v. 15) fulfill their function by being elevated, so their light can be seen by many people over a broad area. Jesus Himself explained the application of this principle in 5:16. The light represents our good works, which must be done with such integrity that all who see have no choice but to credit our Father in heaven. The Christian’s life and influence is to be visible and obvious, not secret or hidden. We must not camouflage our devotion to Christ, but humbly do all we can to allow its truest colors to be seen where we live. The term translated give glory to means “to make manifest or visible.” When we shine our light before others by living righteously, we are making visible the character of the Father. It is the Christian’s commission to live in such a way as to make God visible in a world that is blind to Him.