BY SCOTT DIBBET
How would you define true happiness? As a Christian you are a disciple of Christ who finds your identity in Christ as your Lord. Jesus defines a happy or blessed Christian in Matthew 5 as those who are poor in spirit, mourn, are meek, hunger and thirst after righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted for righteousness sake. Strange, don’t you think?
This only makes sense when we understand happiness from God’s perspective, which is an eternal God-centered perspective. Humanly speaking we find happiness in things we enjoy like our home, vacations, cars, delicate foods, popularity, work, and the list goes on. We all realize that all these things are temporary and many of them rot and decay. We need to realize they need to be used in an eternal God-centered perspective. In other words we can only find true happiness in them when we recognize they are given to us by God to be used to His glory. Then we are still happy Christians when our home, vehicle, food, popularity, and work are all gone. We are even happy Christians when we are persecuted! Sounds strange? It shouldn’t if you look to Christ for your identity.
Jesus’ summary of our identity as salt and light is the conclusion of Matt. 5:1-12. Matt. 5:13-14: “You are the salt of the earth….You are the light of the world.” In other words a Christian is branded as salt and light! That is our identity in the world. If we are not salt or we have lost our flavour, Jesus is saying that we are not worth our salt and are of no value! If we are not light, how can the darkness be dispelled? Can a city that is on a hill be hid? Do we cover a candle with a basket? Jesus wants your identity to be clear: you are salt and light!
What does Jesus mean when He says we are salt? First, salt is used as a preservative, which means salt prevents rot and decay. Before refrigerators and freezers this was the primary use of salt. Jesus is saying that a Christian witness prevents moral rot and decay in a society by sharing and living according to the truth of God’s word. Secondly, salt is used to purify or cleanse. We all know what happens when we get salt in a cut. It stings! So does a true loving Christian witness when a Christian speaks the truth in love. Thirdly, salt gives flavour. Christians rejoice in the Lord always and must give a witness of the joy of our life in Christ. Others should see Christians and become thirsty for Christ because isn’t that another characteristic of salt? Salt indeed makes you thirsty! Are you a salty Christian?
What does Jesus mean when He says we are light? Jesus calls Himself the light of the world several times in the Gospel of John, John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” That means a Christian should certainly be a witness of that light! The light that gives life! What does light do? Again we know that light exposes things that are hidden. The sunlight shines into your kitchen a day after it was dusted and exposes that more dust settled in. Light exposes thieves and others who might prey on the weak and helpless. The only people who hate light are those who love darkness. Much like salt, light preserves life, purifies life, and gives true enjoyment in life. Jesus is the light of the world! Are you a witness and reflection of the light, in the same way the moon reflects the light of the sun?
Let’s give thanks to the Lord that Christians are salt and light, for our benefit and the glory of God alone!
Scott Dibbet is the pastor at the Lacombe Free Reformed Church.