Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Two: Serving Christ in the Workplace.
Our reading for today: Matthew 5: 13-16 (MsgB)
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Ok, my dear friends, it’s time for a bit of soap-box preaching. Give me five minutes here to speak my mind and then you can go about your own business…like nothing ever happened, if you choose. But my hope is that the Holy Spirit might give me the grace to speak some life-changing truth into your life and mine, as we go about this daily chore we call life.
If you’ve been following this blog on Christian discipleship, you know that we’re currently on the subject of W-O-R-K. In truth, every follower of Jesus has been given a specific job assignment…a God-given duty and responsibility to live out our lives no longer for our own selfish gain, but for the glory and honor of the Christ who has redeemed us. My mentor, John Wimber, used to say it like this…“when it comes to mission…everybody gets to play!”
So, as I see it, every person reading this blog, myself included, has been given a work assignment by the Master. But here’s the rub. It’s in the going and doing of that job assignment, so many in the church have lost their way, turning a God-given opportunity to be a blessing in our fallen world into a dreary drudgery of judgment, condemnation, and finger-pointing. So it’s in that mindset, I direct your attention to these important words of Jesus, found here in Matthew 5, verses 13-16.
You see, Jesus never envisioned sending out an army of do-gooders whose job was to point out sinfulness, while cleaning up dirtiness across this lost and fallen world. No. Jesus never called for hard-core volunteers to spread doom-n-gloom across the planet, leaving a pile of broken-n-bruised unrepentant sinners wherever we go.
As I see it, it’s just the opposite.
Salt, you see, is a wonderful seasoning that must be used wisely on foods and with good taste. There’s nothing more bland than a meal without salt, yet nothing more worthless than a tender cut of meat ruined by too much of it.
Light works the same way. Too little leaves us all squinting through the fog, looking for direction, while too much blinds us, leaving us to bump around life like mindless zombies.
That’s why Jesus used the words He did here. He’s calling for wisdom and discernment in those He’s sending forth. Not warriors with swords hacking their way through the jungle, acting much like untamed bulls in the proverbial china closet; but connoisseurs of good taste, sprinkling a light dusting of tasty salt here and there as needed, and offering a bit of light and hope to those who might be stumbling around in the darkness.
Our W-O-R-K, as The Message Bible author, Eugene Peterson, puts it, is to help others to taste the delicate God-flavors sprinkled throughout this often tasteless world, and glimpse the unique God-colors painted amongst this oft-colorless place we call our human existence.
I’d say, let’s stop our flesh-commissioned assignment to cast all hell out of the world for the cause of Christ, and begin simply being bearers of salt-n-light, loving “the hell” out of everyone and everything around us.
Anybody wanna join in that W-O-R-K?
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.
My prayer: Jesus, I dare say that rather than allowing my life to be an Open House for God’s glory…a place of Spirit-led generosity and grace; I’ve lost track of Your call to be Salt-n-Light and joined with other Christians in my generation who see it their job to finger-point and condemn, thus sadly becoming a House of Horrors to those we’ve come to serve. Forgive me, Master, and empower me now to a greater place of love and grace, becoming a wise and discerning Christ-follower who simply points out God-flavors and God-colors for those who might need my assistance. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What practical ways of living my life need to change so that I become a bearer of Salt-n-Light rather than a distributor of Doom-n-Gloom? Am I taking the necessary time in my own life to stop, look and listen for the God-flavors and God-colors surrounding me, or am I focused exclusively on getting my world in order so that everything in life is proper and prim?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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