Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Good For Nothing

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” – Matthew 5:13

In our own minds and standards, we have developed a test by which people are measured.  This test defines their worth to us, and whether we like them or not.  For example, if you work for a living, rather than choosing not to work, you get points.  If you drive a fine car, live in a fine house, and dress stylishly, you get points.  If you’re physically attractive, for which we have another test, you get points.  If you are kind to us and charitable to others, you gain points. 

But our test is faulty in that none of these things matter to God in how He decides our worth.  And since He will one day decide our eternal value, and we will receive as our reward a robe and crown, the test we use should be His.  You don’t run a race and set your own finish line.  God has set the goal line for our lives.

The question then becomes, what does God see of value in our lives?  First and foremost, we have to understand that God looks on the heart, not the outward appearance as man does (1 Samuel 16:7).  So forget trying to please God with our fit figure, shiny hair, and straight teeth.  As He creates millions of people each day, giving life to the wombs of women, do we not see that He prefers variety to the mold of what we call beautiful?  And remember that in the Garden of Eden when it was in its perfect state, Adam and Eve didn’t have clothes.  Your designer dresses and fancy shoes don’t impress God at all.  He’s not into clothes.

So what does God see when He looks at your heart?  Does He see your own righteousness?  I hope not, for He has said that our own righteousness is as “filthy rags”(Isaiah 64:6), which when translated, actually refers to the menstruation cloths used by women.  Yes, you’re righteousness is as filthy, defiled blood.  What God values when He looks at your heart is the covering of righteousness through salvation.  Isaiah 61:10 says that our souls can be joyful in God because He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.  Without the perfect blood of Jesus as your sin sacrifice, your heart is still defiled.  It takes faith in Jesus Christ to be saved, and without faith, you cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Once saved, God has work for you, not just long days of living in lush lives of salvation.  God expects you to be His hands and feet, to take Jesus to the world.  In our little test, you may get points for going to church every Sunday and warming a pew seat.  But God’s test has nothing to do with that pew.  God’s test, in fact, is outside the church walls.  And thought you can engage in His activities from within the church, the activity itself is not what He is looking for.  He has asked you to be salt, light, and a city on a hill.

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus is speaking from the top of a mountain to a group of followers.  He explains to them how they can be blessed on this earth, and then He explains to them that they will be persecuted, and why.  He compares the life of a Christian to two things, salt and light.

He says that we are to be salt.  Salt is a precious thing when you’re eating, but also can bring healing to wounds.  It preserves foods from rotting, and disinfects.  But Jesus goes on to say that if the salt loses its flavor its then “good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men”.  Salt, when kept in its little container is good for nothing.  Salt must gain contact with what it’s trying to season, preserve, disinfect, or heal in order to be of any value.  If you are keeping the salt of your relationship with Christ locked up inside you, unwilling to speak His name when He prods you to pour it out, you are good for nothing to God.  You weren’t saved to sit.

Jesus goes on to say that we are to be the “light of the world”.  Some find this contradictory to passages that say that Jesus is the light of the world, but it’s not.  When Jesus died on the cross, He foretold that He would send a helper, the Spirit of Truth, which is His Holy Spirit that we receive when we accept His salvation.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the third part of the trinity, which is given to us and lives in us.  His purpose is given in John 16:13, which says “He will guide you into all truth”, speaking not of His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak.  He reveals the things to come.  1 Corinthians 2:9-13 says that He will reveal to us the thoughts of God, the depths of God, because only He, being the Spirit of God Himself can know them. 

We become the light of the world because the Holy Spirit is given to us.  But as Jesus says in Matthew 5:15, you aren’t to put that light under a basket, but on a lampstand.  SHINE!  You’re not a light for your own personal closet, where only you can see it.  You’re not even a light for just your own family.  You are the light of the WORLD.  But if you refuse to let the Holy Spirit out of your closet, refusing to share what God has given you, you cannot be the light of the world. 

The one single thing this world needs today, and the only thing it has ever needed, is the light of Jesus Christ spread over the darkness and evil that live in it.  Many times in the Bible evil is referred to as darkness.  Why?  Because darkness is the absence of light.  Where there is light there can be no darkness.  John 1:15 says that “The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  For those that are not walking with God (saved or unsaved) to see the wrongs they commit, someone has to shed some of God’s light on those wrongful deeds.  You might think you’re doing people a favor by not correcting them.  You might think that correcting is judgment, which is wrong.  But if no one ever taught you how to feed yourself with a spoon, you’d still be eating with your hands.  Would you prefer that?  The most loving thing we can do for those that need God’s light is share it, with love. 

How does Jesus see giving His light to his believers?  He compares us to “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden”.  Picture Jesus’ surroundings when He made this statement.  At the top of a mountain with a vantage point higher than all others, He looks out at the surrounding mountain tops, and says, perhaps pointing to a city on an adjacent mountain, “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”  Your light, the Holy Spirit living in you, does not come with a shade for a reason.  It is through sharing the Holy Spirit that men see our hearts, where God looks, and the pure Spirit of God that lives within us.  That is not a point of pride for us, because He is not of us – but of God.  He has allowed His Spirit to live within us. He is NOT our spirit, but God’s Spirit.  And by showing the world our light, Matthew 6:16 says “they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

Our lives are of no value if they do not bring glory to God.  We may have the biggest house, the fattest bank account and retirement, have thousands of friends who would rush to our need, live in fame, and have the most desired figure and beauty of any one in the world.  And in the end, the house will collapse, the bank account will contain only paper that has no value (gold is God’s gravel), the people that loved us will die and meet their own fate, and your body will turn back to dust.  It is only your spirit that will live on with the eternal life that God has granted through salvation.

When we get to heaven, our test will be over, and our worth and value will be weighed according to God’s test, not mans.  Will He find us “good for nothing”?

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