Salt and righteousness, seek that which is real instead of the appearance of it. If something loses the essence of what it is and only the appearance remains, it is useless. In Jesus’ day, salt had many impurities, and when the salt washed away, the impurities remained. Then as now, many people like the Pharisees are concerned about the outward appearance of religion. The Pharisees elevated some of their own teachings and rules above God’s law and congratulated themselves on how well they were doing.
Jesus expects me to hold onto and exceed the highest standards of love to him and to others contained in the commandments of Moses, and he empowers me to do so. I must live according to his expectations, not those of other people. When I do this and reflect him, I have a light to share. Verse 20 is a sobering reminder of who I should be looking to for my validation, value, and teaching. I must live by and offer the salt and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
- What religious idea or practice has caused or is causing tension between me and others? Is it a command, example, or opinion? Is it salt and righteousness or someones opinion about appearance?
- If Jesus were mediating between us, what would he say?
- How could my attachment to outward religious expression and appearance demonstrate weakness in my relationship with Christ?
- How does the amount of time I talk to God compare with amount of time I talk about God? Has my salt and righteousness been about God or from God?
- Am I content to meet a standard set by others or passionate to exceed the one set by God?
Passage for Meditation
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20
Father, I confess that I sometimes care more for outward appearance than for genuine inner change, and I sometimes place the opinion of others over my focus on you. Please help me to live to please only you and to live only for you trusting that if I am dedicated to you, your love will radiate out to the people I need to love. In living this way I can be a light to those who are trying to find you. Help me to be pure salt and righteousness. May these flow from you.
In Food in God’s Place, I wrote that one of the primary purposes of fasting is for me to understand that I need God more than I need air, food, or water. When I grasp this, understanding and experiencing the source of salt and righteousness becomes intuitive.