Salt and Light

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

What does a Christian look like? This question was asked to a group of teens recently in their Wednesday evening class and the teacher did not get a single response. He then asked how their families were different from the families of their friends; what kind of things they do differently; and still no response. The question was then asked to an adult class and very few comments were made.

Today I want to throw a handful of questions to you and I sincerely desire your personal feelings if you are willing to share.

• What does a Christian look like to you?
• Are you being a light the world?
• Do you express grief over sin?
• Do you see yourself as being separated from the world?
• Are you being an example of what God requires?
• What is your attitude toward the world?

Jesus looks at the attitudes and intentions of our hearts and not just with the outer actions.

I like how The Message reads on the following, concerning salt and light.

Matt 5:13-16 “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.

3 comments for “Salt and Light

  1. January 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I guess I would re-phrase your first question to be: “Do I look like a Christian?” As much as I want to and try to, the truth is God looks at me and sees the blood of Jesus and not my pathetic attempts to be like Christ. At the same time, His Holy Spirit is doing a life-time makeover with that result in mind. I look more like a Christian than I did 15 years ago! But there is much to be done.

    One of the great messages of Scripture is in Colossians where we learn “Christ in me” does far more to help me be a light to the world than I could ever do in and of my own effort. Those whose opinion I trust tell me I am a light to the world. Some days I don’t feel so confident that I am.

    I am grieved by my sin but I don’t dwell on it as I claim the promise of God that my sin has been dealt with completely. Didn’t always see it that way, but my years at Long Beach gave me some freedom to explore Biblical truths in a way that my religious tradition didn’t always allow back in the deep south.

    Separated from the world? Yes and No. Is that clear enough? I don’t let others define for me what that looks like because there are a lot of religious idiots out there who think they are experts. But I know that my heart and my eyes are more on the world to come than this world. But I don’t believe I need to live as a hermit to prove it.

    Am I being an example of what God requires? I don’t know of anyone who is to the extent we would like to be. Thankfully there is grace and love that trumps my efforts or lack thereof. I try not to be lazy in this area, but I will never “arrive.” Nor will anyone else.

    My attitude toward the world? I don’t have the compassionate heart for the world that Jesus has. My perspective of the world is pretty sarcastic as I see people reaping the consequences of the stupid decisions we make … and I don’t know that there is a lot I can do about that other than try to see more through the eyes of Jesus and allow him to have more control of my heart.

    I think I like your recipes better than I do these very difficult and revealing questions that expose the real me!!! 🙂
    Greg, I love your candor and your honesty. My studies continually make me examine myself and I must admit, at times it becomes painful, yet they also make me desire to grow spiritually and for that I’m thankful.

    Larry and I are reading the bible together again this year and this time we started in Matthew and will read through the New Testament first. I always find it fascinating and even try to picture myself hanging out with Jesus and the disciples, watching all the miracles, watching people’s reactions, trying to wonder how I would have reacted to see such things. I also imagine myself bursting into tears each time he has to ask me if I’m “dull or slow to learn”.

    Thank you so much for you comments. I always hope to “plant some seeds” with most of my posts or to stimulate spiritual thinking.
    Trust me, the recipes are much easier to do, they fill the belly but not the soul! 🙂

  2. Meowmix
    January 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    • What does a Christian look like to you?

    He/she is kind and compassionate, loving and caring and offers mercy before judgment.

    • Are you being a light the world?

    Some days, yes; some days, no. I try. I want to try harder.

    • Do you express grief over sin?

    My own? Yes. The older I get, the more I recognize what a sinful, needy creature I am and how much I need the grace of Christ. I don’t always identify with the Biblical characters, but I’m with Paul when he says “the good I would do, I don’t; the bad I would not do, that’s what I do.”

    • Do you see yourself as being separated from the world?

    In some ways, yes. But it’s a funny thing; the things you have heard, seen, and done that were worldy come back to haunt you. They can pop up and try to draw you back. That’s why it’s so important to be watchful about what we feed into our hearts and minds in the form of books, movies, music, and TV. We must guard our hearts. I try to be aware of this, and I know Satan knows what buttons to push to try and draw me back, so I try to avoid those. Am I always successful? No.

    • Are you being an example of what God requires?

    Again, I am trying. I’ve made some mistakes, and they can’t all be fixed; impressions some would have would not be what God requires. But, again with Paul, forgetting what is behind and pushing forward………”

    • What is your attitude toward the world?

    I’m sorry for it. I fear it. I hate it. And sometimes I love it.

    Complete honesty from this corner. And it’s not all pretty.

    Judy, it’s interesting that you mention compassion (and I whole-heartedly agree). “Compassion” has been one of the words catching my attention in this year’s study in the gospels. Over and over I read about Jesus having compassion on the people, when he was exhausted, tired, hungry, and even trying to get away for some food and rest himself, yet he always took time to heal one more person or feed one more crowd. At times I feel like I am lacking in the compassion department, especially toward people who refuse God or try to get rid of him. I’m working on my faults; some are just more difficult than others. 🙂
    I appreciate your honesty and all of your comments. I believe for those of us who have come out of some very difficult circumstances that we are a lot like ex-smokers. We hate it so much and the negative things that come about because of it that we want to tell it from the mountain tops, hoping others won’t make the same mistakes. I always have apprehension that people might think I am judging, or that I think I have things all figured out. The answer is a big “NO”, I’m not and I don’t!! I just want people to know Jesus and to know that nothing or no one will ever fill the void that He fills.

  3. January 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Good questions! Funny, a member of the congregation told me Sat. that a friend of his (who doesn’t go to church) said, “If you looked in the dictionary under ‘Christian,’ and it gave a picture instead of a definition, you would see …” and then he gave the names of people you would or would not see based on how they lived their lives in the public. The person picked out people from our congregation and gave her opinion about who would be listed and who wouldn’t, based on how they treated others.

    wb

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