"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" Matthew 5:13-16
When we reflect on the passage in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount. When we arrive at verses 13-16, we see Jesus sharing the reminder that this thing called Christianity is a religion worth sharing, as he shares that his followers are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
While sharing the gospel is necessary, it is something that many followers of Christ shy away from! We often shy away for fear of rejection; we shy away because we don't want to offend; we even shy away because we don't want to face the backlash. The Bible reminds us that when we serve Jesus, the world may get angry, the world may not agree, and that if we choose to be pleasers of the world, we can not walk in the true fullness of life with Christ.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 KJV
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3 NLT
While fear may keep us from walking as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must rest in the simple truth that when we share Christ with others, we are essentially taking the focus off of us and putting the focus on Christ.
When we live a life of true surrender unto the most high God, we allow our convictions to lead us to a place where our commitments can't hold us. We develop an understanding that this world is not our home, and our obedience to the Holy Spirit is more important than any commitment to this world.
To be salt of the earth and light of the world, we first have to know who the Word is, we must understand what the Word teaches, and we must draw near to the Word's instructions. If we do not have the light in us, we can not show the light to the world around us. John 8:12 reminds us of this truth, as is says:
“...I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)
When we allowed the Lord to speak to us through his Holy Word, we allow the light within us to transition to the darkness that is around us. Will you allow the Lord to use you today?
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these thing do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
As we arrive at today's passage, we find Jesus teaching on an essential subject, worry. As humans we are natural worriers, we worry about how the bills are going to get paid, we worry about who does and does not like us, we ever worry about things that may or may not happen. But here in today's passage, Jesus reminds us that while life will give us something to worry about, but he is the ONLY solution.
If we allow it, troubles on this earth can consume us. When our focus is on our problems, we can never truly fix our attention on Christ! While worry is a problem, Jesus gives us a solution, to seek first HIS kingdom. The thing about seeking first God's kingdom is it requires us to be intentional! When we do not intentionally seek God through prayer, fasting, and devotion, we allow God's kingdom to remain unsought in our lives.
Life will always bring worry, and that worry can lead to distraction or devotion, but whether we are consumed with worry or with Jesus is a choice that is ours.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Temptation is anything that tempts us to take our eyes off God. Jesus never said temptation (worry) would not come, but the Bible reminds us that while it may happen, Jesus is our way of escape. When we find ourselves caught up in our problems, we can miss Jesus, but when we find ourselves caught up in Jesus, we can forget about our problems.
Verse 34 closes with Jesus a reminder, not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own. A reminder that problems on this side of heaven are inevitable, and life will always give us reason to worry. Instead of being consumed in worry, we can fix our focus on God's truth, his word, and his ability to speak to even the biggest and hardest situations in our lives. Isn't it amazing that we can rest in knowing that while tomorrow is full of issues and concerns, we do not have to worry because God is in total control!
Today my friend, I want to leave you with this; do not get so caught up seeking the kingdom of your problems that you forget to look after the kingdom of God. Worries come and go, but Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. I encourage you to keep doing your part in looking to Christ and let God do his part in looking after you!
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" 2 Corinthians 5:17
When the new year begins, it is common to find ourselves in a place of reflection. We look back on the last year, the ups, the downs, the expected, and the unexpected. When we begin to examine where we were and where we want to be, we open ourselves up to the opportunity of change. Change starts in our mind; it begins with knowing and understanding that our experience does not have to determine our future circumstances. God's word reflects this truth.
In looking at today's scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible shows us that once we truly have an encounter with the Lord, we become new. The newness in Christ requires a change in us. We transform our thinking from allowing our past to define us, to letting God's word to guide us. God's word tells us the truth; God's word shows us wisdom; God's word gives us understanding. When God transforms our mind, he transforms our life.
As you look back over 2019, I want to challenge you to reflect on the state of your heart. Have you allowed your old way of thinking to shape who you are and who you will be? Have you determined in your mind that your current situation is your forever reality? Or have you allowed God to speak to you? Have you let God show you that newness in him requires a change in you?
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that in Christ, old things are passed away, and in HIM (yes, HIM, not YOU), all things are new. Without question, without requirement, without limit, God allows you to be made new in him. The truth is, life can change you, or Christ can change you. We ought not to get to a point where we allow life, people, or circumstances to attain our focus so much so that God can not lead us in a different direction. When we stop allowing life to guide us, and we start allowing Christ to guide us, we can rest in the truth that we can relinquish control and rest in him!
As you look back on 2019, I know you may feel you have more questions than answers, I know people may have let you down, I know that you may have had more bad times than good. But I also know that God wants to move in your life, I know that God brings peace to any storm, he brings change to any willing heart, and he even makes the dirtiest, ugliest and messiest things new. If you start knowing him, he will begin changing you, Will you let him?