Monday, December 14, 2015

Identity in Christ - 51 (Salt)

Jesus said his family is the “salt of the earth.” Most people who write about this passage focus on salt and its importance in the life of the people at Jesus’ time. It apparently was used to preserve food. There is also the fact that it is an important nutrient. However, Jesus did not focus on its value as a preserving agent or a nutrient. Jesus focused on its value as a condiment.

People use salt because it makes food taste better. And Jesus said if salt loses its flavor, people will just toss it out. People will ignore the fact that maybe its other benefits still work.

God designed people to live a particular way. Because of sin, Jesus was the only person to live that way. Jesus came into the world as a sacrifice for mankind. But he also came as a model for us. He is a model of what relationship with the Father should look like. He is a model of what relationship with other people should look like.  If God’s family manages to live like a faint caricature of Jesus, they will probably look like the most amazing person anyone has ever met.
  • God’s Perspective.

The world is a mess. I could go through a litany of problems, issues and other “hot buttons” that are being debated. And they are being debated long and hard … with a multitude of solutions being offered on all sides.

The world was a mess in Jesus’ time too. Half of the people living in the roman empire at that time were slaves. Two percent of the people had half of the wealth. Half of a family’s income could be given in taxes. Health and sanitation systems in cities were non-existent. The empire was essentially in a state of war for hundreds of years. It maintained the “peace” by violence and brutality.

And Jesus entered this mess, and lived a life that looked like how all people should live. He fed people. He healed people. He pointed them to God and encouraged them to enter relationship with him. It did not matter who the person was, he encouraged, taught and loved them.

Tons of people followed him. Some followed him to see if he would follow the “rules.” Some followed him for a hand-out. Some followed because they genuinely wanted a new life, and hoped he could provide it.

From God’s point of view, the only way to clean up the mess is for revelation to happen in each person’s heart. He created government, families and culture to inhibit evil, and facilitate good. But lasting permanent good will only occur person by person, as each person undergoes a heart revolution, establishes relationship with the Father, and begins living as he/she were designed.

If God’s family does not instigate revolution – live as they were designed, motivating people to abandon the kingdom of the world, give allegiance to the King, and unite with the kingdom of Jesus – then they are failing to be effective partners in God’s mission.

And if God’s family assumes and supports programs that promote political, social, economic or any other type of solution, and ignores or minimizes the Father’s revolution of the heart, then they effectively cut themselves off from the Father, from his Spirit and grace … and they loses the ability to draw people to Jesus. The are salt that loses its flavor.
  • Living My Life

To put it as simply as possible: to be salt, we need to live like Jesus. We need to practice the “commandments of Jesus.” We need to live as we were designed. We need to live out identity in Christ: salt, light, priests. The family of God should rely on the Father. It should not rely on governments, human programs or human strategies.

The family of God relies too much on the church. Do not misunderstand me. The family of God is the church, the assembly of God’s people (ekklesia) called together to carry out God’s purposes. But the family of God has grown to depend on the structure, the organization and the professionals that groups of people have devised to facilitate the business of God.

Again, don’t misunderstand me. When large groups of people join together, some type of organization is necessary to facilitate communication, to avoid confusion, to ensure needs get attended to. I am not against organization, training of leaders, or special buildings. I am against the mindless reliance on such things. I am against the children of God abandoning their role as priest, because there is a professional. I am against the assumption that god’s life can only be manifested inside a special building by a professional. Too many of God’s children accept these assumptions with a corresponding loss of saltiness.

Focus you hear on the Father. Listen to him speak to your hearts. Act on what he says. Fulfill your role as priest. Love, pray and serve.

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