Bible verses to build your life on
Jesus said: “… whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” ~ Matthew 7:24
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Please pass the light and salt ~ :) ~ What was that talking about anyway? ~ study
"You are the salt of the earth; 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. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." ~ Matthew 5:13-16
Okay, I hope I don't confuse you with briefly reviewing this passage out of order, but I'm skipping back (in Matthew 5) just a bit, because I think this is helpful to review. We, humans, are not salt and light in and of ourselves. We are naturally rebellious, as Jeremiah 17:9 says, and Romans 3 reminds us: "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Rom. 3:18)
So, the salt and light obviously doesn't come from us. It doesn't come from our wealth of experiences, and it certainly doesn't come from any human psychology. So, what is the light that Jesus says is in us, and what is that salt?
Well, first I do need to cover the fact that those who do not know Christ, cannot possibly have what Jesus is describing here - we only get that when we are genuinely saved and the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us, transforming us, instantly and daily, into new creatures in Christ - from the inside out: new desires, leading to new motivations, thoughts, words, actions. So, any unbelievers who are reading this can have what I'm talking about her too, after they have surrendered their life to Christ.
Okay, getting right to it, salt is seasoning and has been around for centuries. Jesus, at the time, was speaking to Jewish people who were quite familiar with the trade route system, where caravans of horses or camels would travel abroad as the merchants tried to sell their stuff. Salt was also sold this way. What frustrated the merchants the most was when their salt (have too much exposure to sunlight or water - I don't quite remember) would literally lose it's saltiness and become bland crystals. (Crunch!.. Tasty, no?) When this would happen, the merchant was out of business, for no one would buy his salt-less 'salt'. Side-notes: we need to keep in mind, salt was also used to preserve things, and would positively hurt when it got into an open wound on the skin (yes, it did that then too!)
Jesus uses this understanding of salt losing it saltiness to teach a spiritual principle. Salt is a euphemism for passion for pleasing God, and the 'seasoning' would be when that person would spread that passion to others (through words, and actions). So, Jesus is pointing out when someone says they are a follower of Him, yet has no passion to obey Him that permeates his life, that person has made themselves useless to God. However, there is a remedy, that will not work for 'salt-less' table salt. That remedy, to re-inspire the 'salt' of God's Word and truth in humans - is being "trampled underfoot by men". It is so easy in this world to become so self-centered and wounded by the world so that we become dull to caring about what is right and wrong. However, God is able to arrange a series of us being wounded by men (and women) that will inspire us to say: 'Hey that's wrong', and with that statement, there is a new part of life, or 'saltiness' - and that is something God can work with and grow in us again. (May I mention that it is much easier on us to just work to maintain and grow in 'saltiness'? Really, it's true!)
Well, I hope that makes sense. Next comment - light, what is it? :)
Light is understanding God's truth in way that illuminates something - where a light bulb goes off in our heads (per se) :). Giving God's light would include explaining something in a way that helps the other person make sense of it and also inspires them to obey this new truth that they have now learned. Let's remember, we humans are dull sheep, naturally, and we need God to daily teach us His truth, so we can know how to seek Him, and how we can have that warm fellowship with Him. This light is not in ourselves, and we can only get it by studying, meditating on, and putting into practice the truth of God's Word we do know and understand, and growing from there.
A little background to help this passage make more sense. Back in Jesus' day, they didn't have light bulbs. Isn't that amazing? We become so used to what we have, we think it's always been there... :) Anyway, in Jesus' day, they only had lamps, and we're not talking very big, and they weren't very bright, but they were the best they had. Today, we would probably consider them a dim bulb, probably comparable to a nightlight. So, because it was pitch-black at night, outside and inside, if you wanted to get anything done still after dark, you would need to light these lamps. Now, obviously, the most effective way to use this light would be to put it on something high, so that all could use the light - like a lamp-stand. If you were trying to see at night, you certainly wouldn't put that light under a basket, for that would waste both the olive oil in the lamp and the light. No, if you wanted to see you would have to put that light on a lamp-stand.
Again, Jesus uses this practical principle to teach a (few) spiritual truth(s). As we are learning God's Word, God has no intentions of us just keeping it inside of us, stocking up the shelves of the warehouse of our mind with truth - God's truth. He doesn't give us that truth to just put on a shelf in our mind - but instead to share it with others. You see, everyone who is a genuine follower of Christ is (and/or should be) a preacher of God's truth. I don't mean in a pushy way, I mean each of us should be growing in explaining God's truth in a way that compels those who aren't following Christ, to do so, and to help those who don't even know Christ to repent and start learning to follow/serve Him. So, that's something all of us should do, in an ever-increasing way. So, everyone can be a Bible 'teacher' simply by reading and studying God's Word and sharing with everyone they can about what they are learning, and challenging and inspiring others to join you.
In conclusion, I ought to add, that explaining God's Word can be tough sometimes, but that is the only way we will learn: 1) how to communicate it, and 2) how to understand it more, in a deeper way, ourselves.
So, with this little study, may we all go out today (and from now on) desiring more and more to understand God's truth and to explain it and teach it to all who will hear!
your bro/friend and a growing servant/life-slave of Jesus, SH