Sunday, September 16, 2007

Are you Salt y & Luminous?

Once again this Sunday, we looked at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-4 (4 being the highest) on each of the 8 qualities prescribed in the Beatitudes:

  • Poor in Spirit/ recognize your need for God
  • Mourn/ admit your sin, take responsibility
  • Meek/ Don't always have to get your way or be in control
  • Spiritual hunger/ Want to know God better, He is #1 in your life
  • Merciful/ Empathetic, compassionate, concerned for others
  • Pure in heart/ Open, honest, known for integrity
  • peacemaker/ Work out differences without having to get even, constructive
  • Persecution/ Willing to stand alone for what is right, can take criticism without being defensive or feeling self-pity.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about the beatitudes;
  • Where did you rate yourself highest? What's your lowest area?
  • Do you know someone, a teacher, parent, relative, or friend who you feel demonstrates one of the 8 beatitudes in his or her life? How?
  • If you're honest with yourself, is there one that you've actually gone to great lengths to avoid?
  • Which of the 8 would you like to improve on the most? How do you think can God help you to get batter at it?
Now let's consider the very next 3 verses (Matthew 5:13-16):

13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

What is salt good for?

"Animals including humans need salt in their diets. Salt is used to season and preserve food. It is also used in making soap and glass...

Since ancient times, salt has been used to flavor and preserve food. Early trade routes and many of the first roads were established for transporting salt. Many ancient civilizations levied taxes on salt. Salt was considered so precious that it was traded ounce for ounce for gold." (

  • Perservative
  • Flavor enhancer
  • Medicine, antiseptic
  • Provokes thirst
  • Ice melt
  • Allows water to get much colder without freezing (like in home made ice cream makers) and allows water to get much hotter before it boils or evaporates.
  • Helps you retain water (it's in many sports drinks)

So ask yourself, how and why does God want you to be salt in this world? Would you be more useful to Him or less useful, depending on how many of those beatitude qualities you got '4's on?

How can you help preserve people? Bring out the best in people? Help heal wounds? Make people thirsty for Jesus, the "Living water?" Melt hardened hearts? Intensify God given talents? Help people to "keep the faith?"

Lighten Up

Think about being the light of the world. Do you ever feel like you're stumbling around in the dark? Do you know people who seem to be lost? Depressed, under a gloom of fear, doubt, anxiety, hate, guilt, or anger? Sure, we all do- heck we all feel like we are from time to time.

The light's not somehow "within you" like Gnostics, Taoists, Buddists, Hindus, or Scientologists all claim- rather Jesus is the REAL light of the world, but when God created us in His image, that means He intended us to reflect His love and His glory- sort of like how the moon reflects the sun's light.

Think about a lonely country road in the middle of the night. Way out in the middle of nowhere. When there's a "new moon" it can be pitch black. Without your headlights, you'd be blind. It would be easy to run of the road into a ditch, or to hit a deer or a tree. Ah, but on a night when there's a full-moon, you could practically drive without headlights. Once your eyes adjust, you can see deer, cows, owls, raccoons, everything out there. And if there's snow on the ground, the moon reflects the sun and the snow reflects the moon. Add a few clouds and they reflect the snow... "a luster of mid-day to the objects below."

Ever notice how the bugs flock to a light in the summer? If you are a humble, honest, caring, kind, person of character, if you have the qualities that Jesus talks about in the beatitudes, you will attract people. You will "win friends and influence people" as Dale Carnegie once said. They will be drawn to you as a leader and who will you be showing them? Who will you reflect? Duh, Jesus.

Are you a floodlight? Are you a 300 watt bulb? Just a 100 or 75 watt bulb? Just a tiny night light? How can Jesus help you to shine brighter?

Here's a great song by the Newsboys about learning to SHINE.

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