Sometimes, I think Christians live life with their brights on. In fact, there were Christians who scared me away from wanting to be a Christian for a while because they lived life with their brights on. I usually felt a lot of shame, guilt, and judgment around them. When I met Jesus, I was shocked that the true Light felt freeing...not condemning. We looked at this passage last week, but I think it is one that we can revisit and hear some more from God about!
The beautiful thing that Nehemiah chapter 3 teaches is that we are all a part of building God's Kingdom as Salt and Light in the world we live in. Some of us have a calling to step up and some of us are being called to step aside for others to have an opportunity. In Nehemiah chapter three, there is an extensive list of all the people who helped build the walls around Jerusalem - the city where the Hebrew temple dwelled (Challenge - go read Nehemiah 3 and count how many people it mentions as helpers in the building of the wall. Each person played their part and made way for the next person to play their part.
God has already declared that you ARE the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. Stop waiting around or acting like you have to somehow show that you are qualified for the task that God has given you. Matthew 9:9-13 (TPT)
This week, let's explore what it looks like for you to live as Salt and Light in your vocation, relationships, family, culture, values, convictions, and personalities. Hello family! Today, let us look at these wise words of a woman to her son. We are looking for ways that this inspired wisdom can help each of us be the Salt and Light that Jesus speaks about in the Beatitudes.
As the word of God is spoken, the light of the world is formed. If Jesus says that His followers are the light of the world, then we must be formed by the word of God. Matthew 5:14-16
The Salt of Christ is also a necessity in the world. Think about that. If Jesus says that YOU are the Salt of the Earth, then the creator of the universe wants YOU to know that the world needs you. The world needs you to preserve it with the love of Christ. The world needs you to season it with the presence of Christ. The world needs you to set the standards of Christ's righteouseness. Matthew 5:13
Think about this now... Jesus said YOU are the Salt of the Earth. That means that WE have been invited to join Jesus in preparing the whole earth for God to dwell with us here. So this morning, as we soak in what it means for us to prepare the Earth for God, let us pray that God's kingdom would come and His will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Matthew 5:13
When Paul tells the Christians in Colossae how to act toward outsiders, he instructs them to have conversations that are full of grace and seasoned with salt. The reason? So that the Christians in Colossae will know how to answer people's questions about the most important things in life: Matthew 5:13-16
Maybe that is why darkness tastes like lettuce to me.
There is a great cost to following the way of Christ. Our hope in Christ alone, however, teaches us that, although we may be dying in the flesh, we are more fully alive in the Spirit. Matthew 5:11-12
Don’t let the beatitudes become little sayings that we carve up and take what we like. We have to trust that Christ knows what is best for the human creation that he loves so well. Matthew 5:11-12
They seem so exceptional because they did the right things (except they didn’t), they always had the right answer (except they didn’t), and they never failed Jesus (except for all the time). They must have done something good though because they made it into the book. I wonder if they got the same advice as I did growing up, “Live like the Bible is still being written.” Matthew 5:11-12
The truth is that, when we seek God's righteousness above all else and are persecuted because of it, God will meet us in that place and raise us up. Psalm 119:17-24 (TPT)
This isn’t the end; we haven’t arrived yet, this is the beautiful beginning. Psalm 119:9-16
I mentioned a while back that these beatitudes are not about the “self-righteous,” and this one is no exception. When we are persecuted, it may be worthwhile to ask, “Am I being persecuted for righteousness’ sake? Or am I just a jerk?” Matthew 5: 6, 10, 43-45a
This beatitude is about those who are defeated, harassed, and persecuted because they operate with justice, mercy, and faithfulness in a world that does not usually operate that way. As we seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness this week, let us read a passage from Psalm 119 each day:
I think, maybe, because of the way we have viewed peace, we cannot acknowledge how difficult the path to it may be. The process towards communal peace was not promised to be an easy path; it can be quite messy and very overwhelming. When I joined the student ministry team here as an intern, it did not take long for my co-workers to realize that underneath my exterior is a very competitive spirit. I am so competitive, in fact, that I had to remove myself from a group game of dodgeball for the sake of my reputation as an intern. Can you blame me though? I grew up in a generation that loved to measure excellence through awards and affirmation. Culture taught us that to survive we must perform at a greater capacity than those around us. We all desired to stand out for the sake of our individuality. In my case, an outlet to achieve this individuality was club soccer. I loved the atmosphere of sports as you can imagine. I thrived off of competition and adrenaline on game days. Unfortunately,…
But why do we desire so strongly to make Jesus into a “tougher” peacemaker? Why do we hang on to the stories of Jesus clearing out the temple, of withering the fig tree, and point to these as examples of his real underlying aggression? Why do we discard every other story about peace-doing, and keep the ones that paint him as a man of force? Devotional
Peacemaking is active. Peacemaking requires intentionality and thought, and more than a little bravery. Peacemaking makes heroes and role models out of otherwise ordinary people. Peacemaking is motivation itself for noble deeds and right living. Peacemaking is a discipline that we must rise to, it doesn’t come naturally, but that’s exactly why peacemakers are called children of God. Psalm 34:14
For many of us, just hearing the word "peace" outside of the context of internal peace from God makes us cringe up. Why would we put up such strong defenses against something so central to life in the Kingdom of God? Matthew 5:9