Did you know you have an essential influence? We understand what an essential worker is due to the Covid era we live in. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you have an essential role to play in our society. If ever there was a time that the Church needs to step up and be the Church, it is now! You are essential!
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus teaches that believers are like Salt and Light in the world around us. Here is the Northbrook Sermon link on this text. But in this article I want to focus in specifically on the role of salt and what that looks like in the spiritual sense.
What does it mean for a person to be like salt in the world? I want to pull out some practical applications from Jesus’s word picture.
As Salt in this world I see three aspects we should keep in mind.
Salt Preserves: Believers stand against the moral and spiritual decay that invades our world because of the curse of sin. In our families, communities, society, and even globally, followers of Jesus preserve what it good through our actions, words, and choices. Think of how most hospitals and schools were founded by Christians. Why is that? We bring with us a care for society that extends to the hurting and marginalized. Being the Salt of the earth means to help others, preserve goodness, and leading away from sinful self-destructive paths.
Salt Seasons: Believers bring life, and as Jesus said in John 10:10, he came to give life to the full! Sadly many people feel that Church steals away the joy of life. This is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Being created in the image of God release us to build, create, imagine and engage life from a godly perspective. We are free to seek His glory in new and innovative ways. That is why Christians in the past were always the cutting edge of art and science. It was the glory of God that drove them. Today we need to reclaim our role as the Salt of the earth and bring the seasoning of life and truth with us.
Salt can be diluted: Jesus warns if salt loses its saltiness is worthless. How does this happen? The basic elemental construction of Salt, (NaCl, sodium cloride) cannot be changed without becoming a new element. So what is Jesus talking about? Salt “loses its saltiness” when it is intermingled with other substances. The impact of the salt is reduced as it becomes more mixed. This happens on the spiritual level as well. Can a believer become so distracted by the worldly things that they lose their influence, yes. It happens all to often. Even good things can become distractions, but especially the temptations of our world are numerous and can ruin someone’s influence. The list of discredited pastors is to discouraging to review. But Jesus wasn’t teaching to pastors, he was teaching to every Christian. Make sure your actions and words don’t negate the Salty influence you should have.
Go out and be Salty today! You are an essential influence because you are the Salt of the earth!
In the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12) we see that many of our cultural norms are often in direct opposition to a godly life. Jesus presents a set of values that is in stark contrast to worldly values.
For part of this week’s sermon at Northbrook I imagined what it may look like if the world produced a set of beatitudes corresponding to Jesus’s words. I thought through what the world views as important, fun, or successful. Seeing these side by side showed me the radical difference between what Jesus says leads to a blessed life and what the world says leads to a blessed life.
Where do you see your own values? Is it easy to follow the trends of our culture? Read these beatitudes and ask yourself what the blessed life really looks like.
Jesus’s view of the Blessed life –
Blessed are thepoor in spirit, for the kingdom of heavenis theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those whohunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are themerciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heavenis theirs.
Now contrast these with my interpretation of worldly beatitudes.
The World’s view of the Blessed life –
Blessed is a self-made-man, because they have built their own kingdom.
Blessed are your social media posts, because you always look perfect.
Blessed are the ruthless, because they get what they want.
Blessed are those who hunger for the newest iPhone, because you will be the envy of your friends.
Blessed are the powerful, because they receive respect.
Blessed are online dating app users, for they will see a good time.
Blessed are those who win at all costs, for they will be called successful.
Blessed are the celebrities, because everybody loves them.
It is truly striking when you dwell on these words. What our culture tells us to pursue, Jesus flips it totally on its head! It is no wonder unbelievers consider us fools. Look at the subjects of each sentence in Jesus’s words. The worldly man has no desire to be characterized by such descriptions, it would be an insult and an embarrassment.
Yet, the follower of Jesus…
Understands his/her total dependence on God – vs. 3-5. Being poor, mournful and meek is not Christian depression, but rather seeing our sinfulness for what it is and then taking our eyes off ourself as if we could be good enough to earn God’s love.
Is filled with godliness, vs. 6-8. Living according to God’s ways (righteousness, mercy, purity) truly is the best way to live.
Is actively living this out in our world, vs. 9-12. As we are on display we become peacemakers by introducing others to the One who made peace with God, and yet we can be persecuted for shining light in the darkness.
Seek the blessed life today as you encounter these words of Jesus!