Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Salt and Light

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

~ Matthew 5:13-16 ~

In this passage, Jesus tells us two things about how important our Christian testimony is. Both emphasize the importance of maintaining a good testimony. One emphasizes the tragedy of a broken testimony, while the other emphasizes the triumph of a good testimony.

1. A Broken Testimony Affects Your Effectiveness for God
Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. It is not something that we will someday become. It is something that we are - now. We are salt, and salt is supposed to be salty. Similarly, Christians are made to give flavour to a lost and dying world. However, if a Christian loses his testimony, he becomes like salt losing its flavour; and salt that has lost its flavour is nothing better than the dirt on the ground. That is why people who have been stumbled by Christians say Christians are hypocrites, because they behave and live in a way that is no better than sinners and unbelievers. Once our testimony is broken, how can it be recovered? It's been done and the memory of it will stay, and your effectiveness and usefulness for God will be diminished. Jesus described it as being "trampled underfoot by men".

We must guard our testimony to the world, for a broken testimony can be a stumbling block, and not only affect our ministry, but the ministry of other Christians as unbelievers who are stumbled will be closed up to Christ and Christianity as a whole.

2. A Good Testimony Glorifies God in the Eyes of Others
Jesus uses the example of light to tell us the effects of a good testimony. Light can't help shining, and shouldn't be hidden. Since we are saved, we should let the world know we are saved by the way we live. Our lives should reflect a difference in this world from the lives of unbelievers. They should be lives that tell others about God in deed and in word. A good testimony leads others to acknowledge God and His work in our lives, and glorify Him.

Do not hide your faith. Let it shine in the open and lead people to Jesus. There is nothing better than to know that people have seen Christ in us, and have come to know that He has made a difference in our lives. On the other hand, there is nothing more tragic than to have a broken testimony that leads the unsaved further from the Saviour than they already are.