“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” (Jas 3:6)
Speech is powerful. Spoken words can either encourage or discourage. The Scripture teaches believers to control the tongue and to speak words of kindness.
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.” (Lk 11:34, NIV)
Light represents goodness, purity, holiness, and truth. Darkness represents sin, evil, and Satan. The eye is an analogy of the inclinations of the heart. If our hearts are set on the material possessions of this world, we are spiritually blind and lose our direction in life.
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:20)
In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, a person must be more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees. This is the spiritual higher ground revealed in the Sermon on the Mount. In this discourse, the Lord sets a higher moral standard that rises above people’s common expectation. The emphasis is on loving God and men from the heart rather than a superficial observance.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Mt 5:14)
As the light of the world, Jesus brings light to mankind. We are children of light. We ought to let Jesus’ light shine through us. As a lamp gives light to everyone around it, we are to manifest God’s truth and goodness to the people around us. Being sanctified by God’s words, living a clean life, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and having good deeds that show love for people are ways to reflect God’s goodness.
The ultimate purpose of religious belief is to allow people to experience the presence of God and to walk with Him in the light. We should let our light shine because one day, our light may lead someone out of the darkness. Thus, let us not only shine the blessed gospel light but also brighten the corner wherever we are.
“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.”
Salt is valued as a preservative and for seasoning food. Just as salt seasons and preserves, we are to bring God’s goodness to the world and preserve against moral decay in our environment.
Salt adds flavor. We live on the earth to give greater meaning and flavor to those around us. If we have the desire to help others, then we are like flavorful salt. If we are indifferent to others, then we are as if salt were to lose its flavor. When we attract others with goodness and kindness, we are the salt.