You Are Salty and Bright!

You Are Salty and Bright!

When Jesus sat down to explain His mission to His disciples, He began by describing the benefits of paying close attention to what He was about to say.  In Matthew 5:1-11, He explained that we can have all the blessings we long for if we are hungry and thirsty enough to find them God’s way—the way He was about to lay out.

Up to that point, getting right with God had been all about doing.  Moses had given the Jews lots of rules about behavior and the consequences of breaking the rules. In His treatise, Jesus spends three chapters explaining that now, it is all about being.  If actions don’t flow from a pure heart, dressing them up in religious language won’t help.  It doesn’t matter if you do the right things if your motives aren’t pure.  This paradigm shift must have seemed shocking to His Jewish audience, so in tune they were with the law.  Under that covenant, there were rules and regulations for everything.  Some followed these edicts so feverishly that even a bowel movement was too much work for the Sabbath.

One way Jesus explained the difference was to compare His disciples to salt and light.  Salt acts to make food salty because that’s its nature.  Light illuminates and it cannot submit to darkness.  When we are born again, new creations in Christ, we flavor everything we touch.  We shine from our light stands because we cannot do otherwise.  It is impossible. We are salty and bright!

Jesus addresses the important areas of life from personal interactions to prayer to basics like food and clothing from this new perspective.  He talks about how we can recognize this inner switch.  We keep the law because the law, at its heart reflects, our love and concern for others, not because of fear or as a tit for tat exchange.  For the new creation, the answer for every situation is to love, trust and depend on God.  In gratitude, we give others what He has given to us:  His love, care, and forgiveness.  He warns us that it’s no use to come to him bragging about our doing (Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? Matthew 7:22 NKJV), if those works don’t flow from a new heart.

Instead of doing what looks good, we accept God’s offer to be good.  When Jesus told the disciples to, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” He was confirming that this shift in thinking is the key to all of life.  He knows it’s not an easy swap, but He encourages us to knock and keep on knocking, keep on seeking and we will find.  He has changed our spirit, giving us new life–His life! As we begin to live from this new spirit, our behaviors and our results begin to change. We begin to walk in the blessings He foretold in the Beatitudes.

Of course, James was right when he stated that faith without works is dead (James 2:14) but remember:  salt and light have their jobs to do but they do them by being what they are.  Nobody’s fooled by favorless crystals masquerading as salt!  They are thrown out and trampled underfoot!

Blessings!

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