Divine Disadvantage – Matthew 5:13-16
Our Lord uses as illustrations some of the most conspicuous things known to humanity: salt, light, and a city set on a hill. He says, essentially, “Be like that in your home, your business, your church. Be a conspicuous Christian, ready for either ridicule or respect depending upon the people you are with.
Concentrated Service – Matthew 5:13
Not consecrated service, but concentrated. Consecration (our dedication) would soon become sanctification (holiness) if we would only concentrate on what God wants.
Concentration means pinning down the four corners of the mind until it is settled on what God wants. The literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is child’s play; its interpretation by the Holy Spirit is the hard work of a saint, and it requires spiritual concentration.
“You are the salt of the earth.” Some teachers today seem to think our Lord said, “You are the sugar of the earth,” meaning the ideal of the Christian is gentleness and winsomeness without any curative discomfort. But our Lord’s illustration of a Christian is salt, one of the most concentrated things we know, something that preserves wholesomeness and prevents decay.
It is a disadvantage to be salt. Think of the action of salt on a wound, and you will realize this. If you get salt into a wound, it hurts-and when God’s children are among those who are “raw” toward God, their presence causes discomfort.
The man who is wrong with God is like an open wound, and when “salt” gets into him, it causes annoyance and distress-he becomes spiteful and bitter. The disciples of Jesus today preserve society from corruption; the “salt” of their presence causes irritation, which leads to their persecution.
How are we to maintain the healthy, salty tang of saintliness? By keeping our right relationship to God through Jesus Christ. In this present age, Jesus says, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation…For, indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). Christians are called to live out Jesus’s teaching in a culture that will not recognize Him, and that spells resistance and very often persecution.
- How can you learn to concentrate more on what’s truly important?
- In what ways can you right your relationship with God?
Lord, Jesus, help us to be more willing to concentrate on the important things in life and help us to let the Holy Spirit guide us down the right path.
“Salt & Light” – It would be like a baptism of light to allow the principles of Jesus Christ to soak right down to our very makeup. His statements are not put up as standards for us to attain; God remakes us and puts His Holy Spirit in us-then the Holy Spirit applies the principles to us and enables us to work them out by His guidance.
Later, in Matthew 10:26-28, our Lord again taught the need to be bold proclaimers of the truth. We are not to cover it up for fear of wolfish people.