Being Salt and Light in the Affairs of Everyday Life
Sometimes we need to stop and reconcile what God is saying in one verse in the Bible with another. Sometimes, if we're not careful, some scriptures might even appear contradictory.
For example, take 2 Timothy 2:4 "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier." (NASB) and Matthew 5:13-16 that speaks of being "salt and light." How can Christians not entangle themselves in the affairs of everyday life and still be salt and light? How else can they have a direct impact on culture, politics, justice, lost people, etc.?
Well, in John 17:19, Jesus ties these verses together and reconciles what might seem to some to be contradictory. Jesus says: "As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."
Folks, as for the redeemed, we have been forgiven and reconciled with God for a purpose: to make His name famous in the nations. And the only way to make His name famous in the nations is to be in the nations – from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. This is what it means to be “salt and light” in Matthew.
But Jesus also speaks of being "sanctified in truth." This has to do with becoming more Christ-like as we sojourn through this world, studying God's word, making application to our lives, and being transformed by the renewing of our minds to prove what the will of God is (Romans 12:2). This is why the soldier in 2 Timothy 2:4 does not "entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life." Why? His values are different and his end goals are different. Thus, the soldier's thoughts are radically different from those he often finds himself surrounded by and for good reason – he serves a purpose greater than himself in the army of the Lord.
So, to wrap this up, when it comes to things of this world, Christians have a duty to be salt and light as they impact culture for the glory of God, making disciples and seeing the lost saved. Concurrently, as Christians, we are not to become entangled in the affairs of this world through sin and encumbrances, rather run with endurance the race that is set before us, as the writer of Hebrews so eloquently states in Hebrews 12:2. That way, when we do stand before the Lord, we might hear Him say: "Well done My good and faithful servant."
Amen! And even so, come Lord Jesus!