Spiritual Rumination by Julia Phillips

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

 

“Do you not know that ye yourselves are God’s temple and that the Holy Spirit lives within you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

 

Do you think God is concerned about the effect you have on those around you? Our nation is in a crisis. Between COVID and the almost 50/50 split in views, beliefs, distrust, and values within our borders, it has never been so vital that we let our light shine before men and that we do not lose our saltiness. I hope your reply is Amen! 

In Matthew and John Jesus makes two of His strongest statements regarding Christians in all of scripture; You are the salt of the earth, and You are the light of the world. Think about it. If we are the light of the world, then who should we blame if the atmosphere around us seems to be lit with a 15-watt bulb? It is light that dispels darkness, not the other way around. In these two verses, Jesus was saying that as believers we are the vessels God intends to use to preserve the good as salt and dispel darkness by uncovering the evil plots of the enemy. God is light, and the devil performs his wicked deeds in the darkness. What an adventure. We are the salt and the light of the earth. 

For Jesus to use the word “salt” to describe one of our critical missions is amazing. Salt is one of the most stable compounds on earth. Salt will not lose its “saltiness” on its own — ever! It becomes non-effective only when it becomes contaminated. Contamination occurs if salt becomes mixed or diluted with some other material or chemical. Salt must be kept pure for it to be effective in its purposes. It must remain separated from the medium in which it is placed. When it is, it only takes a small amount to be effective and accomplish its purpose, including altering flavor in a positive way, or acting as a preservative. 

So, here is the million-dollar question. When you walk into the post office, or get up and join your family in the morning, have you kept yourself pure enough, uncontaminated enough, to, “alter that atmosphere” in a positive way? Is your saltiness effective to melt the ice in the heart of a hurting individual in your presence? What about any ice in our own hearts? Selah; pause and think about that. If we Christians assimilate things other than the pure Word of God — whether through our eye-gate, our ear-gate, or by the meditations of our hearts, we face great danger of becoming contaminated and ineffective. That, my friend, is a sobering thought.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything.” Matthew 5:13. We must keep ourselves unstained from the world, as the Bible states we are in the world but not of the world. “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. And God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters saith the Lord God Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:15-18.

Mixing the standards of the world with God’s standards and truth is one of the strongest and most alluring, tricky temptations that our enemy is using today to cause Christians to become contaminated and lose their saltiness. People fear offending someone more than speaking the truth or vocalizing the truth of God. It is a frightening thing when the salt loses its savor, and one can’t see a difference between themselves and the world. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. 

We as believers are not the “light of the world” because of who we are, but rather because we reflect the image and light of who resides within us. So allow your light to shine before men so they can see and glorify the true God in heaven. 

Light exposes the hidden works of darkness. As the light of Jesus shines through us, it naturally reveals any darkness around us. Since the fall of man, man by nature loves darkness rather than light. Our light must shine folks. Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. 

Fulfilling our mission statement is going to require discipline, obedience, and a willingness to do His will each day and not our will. “Therefore, I urge you brethren, in view of God’s mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is: His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2.

The desire to be accepted and successful, the aversion to be ridiculed or demeaned, are weapons in the enemy’s toolbox in the world. He wants to contaminate the purity of your walk and weaken your ability to be salt and light. Does the atmosphere change when you enter the office, without you even speaking a word? Or do the nasty jokes, profanity, and the darkness remain unscathed in your presence? If so, then why? How? Are you guarding your eyes, your ears? How many hours do you spend in His Word and His presence each day compared to how many hours you spend on Facebook or watching shows on television that you would never have watched a decade ago? If you’re not satisfied with your “saltiness,” run, don’t walk, to the altar. 

I stop at McDonalds on my way home from Fairbanks each time I go. I rarely eat out, but I love their french fries. But they must be steaming hot and covered with salt. What would happen if I asked for old fries that had sat out on the counter all day? What if I rinsed off all the salt? I can tell you now. They would be disgusting. Jesus says He would rather us be hot or cold, but if we are lukewarm (room temp) He will spew us out of His mouth. Think He was joking? Think again mate. And no salt? Tasteless. In fact, “good for nothing” except for the compost pile. Now, that may not be the best analogy, but I think you understand what I’m saying. Whether we are allowing the light of the glorious gospel to shine through our vessels or not, can be easily discerned by a little fruit inspection. 

I challenge you to watch and really study — ruminate on the effect you are having in your sphere of influence. Do others see the light of Christ shine through you, even though they may not even understand it? Are you the salt of your world, or do you look, speak, and act like everyone around you? In other words—blend right into your surroundings while making no one uncomfortable? 

Perhaps it is time to make some changes. Daily I cry out in prayer, “Create in me a clean heart God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do you light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, you put it on a stand, and it will give light to everyone around you. In the same way let your light so shine among men. 

There is a gaping wound in the hearts of our neighbors and community and more importantly our nation. Be willing to be used to help heal that wound.

Pass the salt, please. 

Ruminate on that.