Has God ever pursued you with a phrase or an idea? Where the phrase or idea keeps coming up, re-convicting you and forcing you into new study?
For me, that phrase is salt and light.
The phrase salt and light comes from Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Got Questions? provides an excellent explanation of the phrase, and concludes with: “It seems, then, that the role of the Christian as salt and light in the world may be hindered or prevented through any choice to compromise or settle for that which is more convenient or comfortable, rather than that which is truly best and pleasing to the Lord. Moreover, the status of salt and light is something which follows naturally from the Christian’s humble obedience to the commandments of Christ. It is when we depart from the Spirit-led lifestyle of genuine discipleship that the distinctions between ourselves and the rest of the world become blurred and our testimony is hindered. Only by remaining focused on Christ and being obedient to Him can we expect to remain salt and light in the world.”
In short, faith without works is dead (James 2:26), and true submission to Christ as Lord will result in obedience and action.
Over the past year, I prayed to God for answers to deep heart questions. Some of those questions included, “God, is the path I’m on the one you’re calling my husband and me to pursue?” And, in the context of the Christianity I was experiencing, “God, is this it?”
His answers were a resounding, “No!” as he launched my husband and I on an incredible journey that is still ongoing. In the months leading up to this launch, God made it very clear that the path He was calling us to would not be easy, but that it would be for His glory. God began pressing deeply on my heart to fully surrender to Christ and to humble myself to His Word through a lense of pure meekness. He encouraged me to let go of the doctrinal pride and ego I carried around for years, and to free fall into His arms so that He could guide me and reveal Himself to me.
And free fall I have. The past few months have been a rapid cycle of humbling moments, conviction, and transformation (repeat). I have fallen out of doctrinal and legalistic bondage into deep relationship with Jesus. I’ve been loosed from chains of pride into freeing surrender to Christ. I’ve adopted different methods of worship, and experienced the Holy Spirit in new and powerful ways.
Throughout all of this change, God has placed new questions in my heart, like, “Am I willing to let my flesh die so that I may be transformed and brought back to life for the glory of Christ?” “Am I willing to accept a risky faith and be rejected by others as I honor Him?” “Am I willing to follow Christ, and live as salt and light in a tasteless and dark world?”
My heart has cried out in a confident, “Yes!” but actually living this out is so hard. It requires me to constantly confront my selfishness, my fear, and my sin. Actually taking on the role of salt and light has led to rejection. But through it all, the Father has whispered comforting truths, letting me know that it’s worth it and that it pleases Him. I don't walk perfectly (far, far from it in fact), but thankfully that's where His grace and my own repentance meet me.
I believe God is calling others to truly and wholly lay down their lives for the cause of Christ. I have seen the Holy Spirit all but yelling at the Church to stop allowing doctrinal disagreements to cause division and stop hating on each other, but rather unite in surrender to Him and live out our calling of being salt and light because the world needs God's love and real Jesus so badly right now. This calling is not comfortable or easy, and any preacher who teaches that Christianity is a feel-good religion that is convenient is not teaching the true Gospel. (I think that until recently, I didn't quite understand the true Gospel and have been a believer for more than a decade.)
My admonition to those to whom God is reaching out and pressing on to accept this calling of salt and light is to lean into the discomfort. Pray for God to take away any spirit of pride in your heart, and humble yourselves in full surrender to Christ. Do not be afraid, because God will meet you wherever you are. Accept this risky faith and the world’s rejection, because it is only when we lose our lives for Christ’s sake that we will find them.
Matthew 10:34-39 states, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
In the acceptance of this newfound life, we will become salt and light. We will be able to preserve the world from evil - where there is strife, we will be able to bring peace; where there is sorrow, we will be able to minister healing; where there is hatred, we will be able to bring unconditional love; and where there is darkness, we will be beacons of hope and light*. (*Paraphrased from Got Questions?)
And for those of you who are already pursuing this calling, stay salty.
I say all of this with complete humility and full admission of my failures to walk as salt and light. I stumble and fall. Sometimes I stand right back up and sometimes it takes me a minute, but thankfully God is faithful and patient. This life isn't an easy life, but it is good.