Friday, August 22, 2014
“Purer in Influence”
You’re listening to The New You, the daily broadcast for people who have been made new by the blood of Christ. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s Scripture:
“You are the salt of the earth; but 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” (Mat. 5:13).
Matthew chapters five, six, and seven record for us the great sermon on the mount delivered by Jesus, the Master Teacher. In Matthew 5:3-12, Jesus gives the beatitudes, statements of blessing upon those who seek God’s way for their lives. It’s interesting that verse thirteen then shifts from God blessing us to how we – as God’s people – can bless others.
You know, it’s true: God blesses us so that we can bless others. So what about you today? How will you bless someone today? Assisting others in benevolence, paying for someone’s meal, and helping a friend move are absolutely some ways that you can be a blessing. Further, being there for someone in a moment of need, caring for them when they are sick, praying for them when they have experienced loss in their family – these are all great ways to be a blessing. It’s interesting, though, that Jesus is much more general than that as we come to Matthew 5:13. Jesus says that you can be a blessing simply through your influence.
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. In Matthew five, Jesus uses salt to teach an important point about your influence and mine. “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. Here are four points about salt.
1. Salt makes things better. Salt was used in ancient times in the same way that we use it today: to flavor foods. It was also employed as a means of preservation, and it found its usefulness even among the Old Testament sacrifices. Sometimes people with health problems are forced to cut back or even to totally eliminate their salt intake. Many people dread those orders from the doctor because it means that their food isn’t going to taste good anymore! In Job chapter six, Job asks, “Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?” (Job 6:6). This illustrates the value of salt going all the way back to ancient history.
2. Christians are to make the earth better. A close look at Matthew 5:13 reveals some important thoughts. Jesus says “You are the salt of the earth” (emp. mine, RH). The Greek text places special emphasis on the word “you.” You – and only you – are the salt of the earth! Christians have this unique responsibility to make the earth a better place. If we don’t do it, then who will?
Now we’re not necessarily talking about preserving the planet itself, though we certainly understand that the material blessings that we have are just that – blessings that we should use with good stewardship. But the earth will be a better place when we act in accordance with the will of God. That’s how you and I will be salt. In other words, we will be a good influence on other people. We will be a good influence on all of the earth.
3. “Unsalty” salt is worthless. What’s the point of having salt if it doesn’t do anything to enhance the flavor of food? Jesus says that this kind of salt is “good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Now make the application.
4. “Unsalty” Christians are worthless. That stung a little, didn’t it? “Unsalty” Christians are worthless?! That’s right. What are you more than others if you claim to be a Christian, but you aren’t living the Christian life? What do you do more than other people do if you live your life without consideration of holiness and purity? How are you making the earth better, how are you helping people to come out of sin and to know Jesus? Someone said: “the world would rather us be honey, but Jesus expects us to be salt.” Good point. Your influence is valuable. Jesus expects you to have an impact – a positive impact – on the world simply by nature of the fact that you are a Christian.
Let’s wrap it up: A poet wrote:
My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done;
Leave countless marks for good or ill, ere sets the evening sun.
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray:
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.
All this week we have focused on purity: purity of heart, purity of body, purity of speech, purity in the church, and, today, purity in our influence. May God help us to be pure. May we never lose our drive to continue a pursuit of purity.
Memory Verse: Make Psalm 19:14 your life’s mission, and you won’t lose your drive to be pure:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Over the weekend: Be sure to worship God on Sunday, the Lord’s day. Assemble with God’s people in your area and worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Need help locating a place to worship? Check out our interactive map that will help you find a congregation of God’s people in your area! Just go to thelightnetwork.tv/worship.
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I’m Robert Hatfield, and I’ll meet you right here on Monday for another edition of The New You. Have a great weekend!