let your light shine before others
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Mt 5:13–16)
Tasteless salt and hidden light are good for nothing! Salt arrests decay in our world, and light banishes darkness. Salt is hidden, but light is visible. Both are needed in the world, and both must give of themselves in love and service.
"It is not easy to be a dedicated Christian. Our society is not a friend to God nor to God’s people. Whether we like it or not, there is conflict between us and the world. Why? Because we are different from the world and we have different attitudes." (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 21–22). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
As we read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, we find that they represent an outlook radically different from that of the world. The world praises pride, not humility. The world endorses sin, especially if you “get away with it.” The world is at war with God, while God is seeking to reconcile His enemies and make them His children. We must expect to be persecuted if we are living as God wants us to live. But we must be sure that our suffering is not due to our own foolishness or disobedience. We must seek to be different.
From this passage, we need to see that Jesus' Words were echoing the words and callings of those from old--words and callings throughout the Old and New Testament--words, attitudes, and actions for us today. God has called us to follow Him in a special relationship because of Jesus and His love. Just like God called Abraham into a special relationship with Him, we need to follow God wherever He calls us. God reminded Israel throughout scripture of the relationship He had with them because of Abraham and His love for them.
We must let our light shine to not only reflect the promises of God, but to help the world see how to have an unconditional love relationship with God. Are you hiding your light under a bushel? Are you helping to add flavor to the lives of those in your circle so that they may taste and see that the Lord is good? In the days ahead, let us be a reflection of the image Jesus and His love, and light the path for others to see.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. (Deut. 10:12-13)
My YouVersion reading today sparked my attention to share with you the simplicity of our call as believers. Often we ask, "What does God expect from me?" Here Moses gives a summary that is simple in form and easy to remember. He stressed that the law was not merely an outward ritual of sacrifice and festivals; but a heart attitude and a lifestyle of respect, love, and service for God.
Here are the essentials: (1) Fear God; (2) Live in a way that pleases him; (3) Love him; (4) Serve him with all your heart and soul; and (5) Obey his commands.
Too often we complicate faith with man-made rules, regulations, and requirements. We begin to attach the world's definition of "successful faith" to God's plan. Are you frustrated and burned out from trying hard to please God? Do you feel guilty because you cannot seem to keep up with the "religious" requirements that others deem necessary for you to be in right standing with God?
In Deuteronomy 11, God directed this call to the essentials most forcefully at the older Israelites who had witnessed first-hand His mighty acts along the way from Egypt to Canaan. Even the Children were held accountable. Failure to love, obey, and serve God would bring God's curse on both the people and their land. (Deut. 11:16-17)
Are you concentrating on His real requirements? Real peace is found "only" by the way of... Respect, Follow, Love, Serve, and Obey.
Pastor Shan Smith
Jesus follower, Husband, Father, Student Ministries Pastor at Marshall Baptist Church