13 “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. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 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. 16 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. Matthew 5:13-16
On the heels of the reality check in verses 11 and 12–that we can expect to be persecuted–the Lord shows us how we are to live in a world bent on choking out any semblance of his influence. We know they will not prevail, because greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Given this, we need to use this power in such a way that his influence is undeniable. How? By what we say and how say it. By what we do and how we do it. By our words and deeds.
There was a popular song many years ago that went, “What the world needs now, is love sweet love.” True. Does this mean organizing one big group hug? No. It’s down to me being gracious, empathetic, thoughtful, yielding, encouraging, sacrificial and cheerful. But it may mean me sincerely issuing a biblically-supported defense of what’s right. It may even mean a full-blown declaration of allegiance when I know this will change everything from here on out.
What we say needs to be seasoned with grace. What we do needs to be motivated by love. Our model is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Who else is going to point others to this reality with him off the scene?