The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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          Last week, this article defined an influencer as “someone who affects or changes the way that people behave.” In addition, an influencer can persuade others by…their credibility, authenticity, reach, and trustworthiness.  Christians are charged to be influential in a world that is in desperate need of a positive and godly influence. Pointing to the manner in which Christians are to be influential through their peculiarity, or distinctiveness, Jesus charged His followers to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-14).
          Related to Christian distinctiveness and the influence that accompanies a life that is lived “in the world but not of the world,” is the Duty of Being a Christian. Christians not only are postured to have an influence, but Christians have the divinely appointed duty to be influencers. When Jesus declared, “You are salt…you are light,” he was not talking to the world. He was not referring to governmental authorities. He was not talking to any special interest groups who earnestly strive to promote a particular cause. Rather, he was talking to you and me. We cannot point the finger to someone else or say, “That’s not my job.” Why? Because the responsibility is ours…we have a duty to be salt and light!
          Salt is used to flavor and preserve food. Salt can only accomplish the intended purpose in an effective manner when making contact with the food. Through use of a metaphor, Jesus was calling on His disciples to accomplish their Christian duty by flavoring and preserving a tasteless world experiencing rapid decline and decay. In order to be effective, Christians cannot stay in the comfortable confines of their home or even in the church building. Because salt flavors and preserves by making contact with the meat that is on the verge of spoiling, so too must Christians come into contact with whatever portion of a spoiling world that is available to them.
          Christians also have been postured as light and have the duty to shine brightly and brilliantly in a dark world. While light does not necessarily erase darkness, light does have the capacity to push back the darkness so that others can see the truth of the gospel more clearly. As light, therefore, Christians are to be witnesses, or light bearers, to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the hope, joy, and peace that comes only through a relationship with Him. Our witness for Jesus must be presented both visibly and verbally as our actions, attitudes, words, and deeds reflect the presence of Christ in our lives in such a way that people are drawn to the Lord through us.

                Through both actions and attitudes, salt and light believers can have influence and make a positive impact on a tasteless and dark world by:

  • Serving others faithfully through the deployment of spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10) and with humility by expressing concern for the interests of others (Philippians 1:2-4);
  • Sharing treasures willingly and generously with those in need (Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 5:18);
  • Supporting through encouragement and edification (1 Thessalonians 5:11), kindness and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32), giving guidance and carrying burdens (Galatians 6:1-2);
  • Supplication. Francois Fenelon asserted “Of all the duties enjoined by Christianity none is more essential and yet more neglected than prayer.” Christian duty includes praying continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17), persistently (Luke 18:1), and comprehensively [“all occasions, all kinds of prayer, all people…both Christian brothers and enemies” (1 Timothy 2:1; Ephesians 6:18; Matthew 5:43-45)];
          As salt and light, Christians can influence others by serving, sharing, supporting, and supplication. Responding to opportunities to exercise influence is both the role and the responsibility…the duty… of followers of Jesus Christ. Why? Because faith that is not accompanied by action is dead (James 2:17).
          Consider the opportunities that you have had this week or in the past several weeks to be salt and light. Did you take advantage of the opportunity to flavor and preserve a spoiling world? Did you shine brightly for your Lord as light? Did you accept the call to duty? Are you exercising your privilege and responsibility as a Christian influencer? Was anyone persuaded to change their behavior or perhaps alter their present course in life because of your credibility, authenticity, and trustworthiness? Remember, Christians are influential people!


Dear Heavenly Father, May I exhibit an attitude of compassion toward others through actions that reflect my faith in you. May I exercise influence as salt and light with sincerity and humility as I answer the call to duty as your disciple. Amen.