Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saltine Christians

  "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."  Matthew 5:13
If you are a follower of Christ, you have likely heard this passage more than once. We know it is our responsibility to influence the world for Christ. Notice carefully, the word "influence". That is not the same as "manipulate", "convince" or "force".  Those words don't fit into the description of what we are to do as believers.  We are to influence. We are to bring flavor to our world. 

There is a big difference between saltine crackers and unsalted crackers or salted peanuts and unsalted peanuts or even salted pretzels and unsalted pretzels.  The difference is taste.  To me the salted are much more desirable. I am prone to pick those up than the ones without salt. However, I can "stomach" the unsalted ones if there is nothing else.

Lately it seems that secular society is "stomaching" Christians and Christianity. However, it also seems like they are beginning to grow weary of what we offer.  When you watch the news, the defiant rejection of Christians and our ideology and morality is more and more prevalent on a daily basis. Why is that?   

The verse above speaks of salt becoming tasteless. It says that when that happens it is good for nothing than to be trampled under foot. Perhaps Christianity is being trampled by secular society because we have become tasteless. We have ceased to "season" our world. If you read the twelve verses before the one above, you will see a description of a blessed life. The description very clearly demonstrates a life that stands out. The things listed are not the norm: poor in spirit which means humble, mourning, gentleness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and persecuted.

One thing I know without a doubt is whether the food I am eating has salt or is lacking salt. One thing those without Christ know without a doubt is whether a Christian is living what they believe or not. It is just obvious. Sometimes those without Christ know more about how a Christian should live than many Christians do. We Christians are on display and our testimony is effected as much by what we don't do that is right as what we do that is wrong.

Many Christian values are being challenged by society and they are watching to see how we respond. More Christians, more churches and more denominations are compromising on issues because they believe that is the path to drawing more to Christ. When we compromise, we are saying that what we have proclaimed from God's word is either not true or it is negotiable.  God's word does not change  (1 Peter 1:23-25) and He doesn't need our help to draw people. Christ said he will draw all men to Himself (John 12:32).

Our responsibility is to reflect the glory of God in Christ and be His mouth piece to uncompromisingly speak His truth.  This means that the first thing we need to do is die to ourselves. We must stop pursuing what pleases us. We must stop looking for ways to skirt around what God has told us not to do. His word is clear regarding how we are to live.  His standards have not changed nor are they negotiable. Whether the lost admit it or not, they are looking for a firm foundation. This world we live in is ever shifting and changing and it is hard to get a stable footing on life.  There is One Constant and that is found in the love of God in Christ. When we compromise His word, then the world loses hope and turns back to what they know and God's testimony is damaged.

Here is what we believers need to do: MAKE time for God. Make studying His word a priority. Dig deep. Look for resources to help you through those troubled spots. Ask your pastor or staff member for resources if you are not sure where to look. If you don't have a pastor, then it is very important that you get established in a solid, Bible-believing/living church. 

It is also extremely important for you to get involved in a small group to study the Bible. That might take the form of a Sunday School class or a men's or ladies' Bible study group or a small group of believing friends. It is important to make these connections so you can grow, so you have others to pray with and pray for, so you can be held accountable for those areas of sin with which you struggle and you can be their accountability for their struggles too. The Christian life is difficult. Jesus said it would be tough and that people WILL ridicule you if you are living it the way He commands. However, the end result is worth it: that moment when you hear "well done my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:14-30).

I pray for your strength and for your growth so that your life will accurately reflect God's glory!

For God's Glory,

Chris S. Sweet

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