One of my most frequent prayers, as I know it is for many of you, is that my children (and their spouses) will be seized with passion for the Lord. Very recently this has happened for my son-in-law, David. David has been a believer since childhood, but recently my daughter Annie told me,
“He’s getting up every morning two hours early to be with the Lord!”
When I wrote David to tell him how glad I was, he responded:
He’s taken hold of me! I’m humbled and delighted!
What David is discovering is what Charles Spurgeon knew:
When we are “swallowed up in the delights of His company,” we also naturally become salt and light. That’s where we are headed this week, to consider what that means. We are also going to listen to a wonderful message by Michael Reeves on Charles Spurgeon. (I sent it to my son-in-law for he has become delighted in Spurgeon and he said, “I’m going to listen right away!” And then he posted it on Facebook. David’s joy in the Lord naturally makes him salt and light. This week I’m sharing stories of friends whose joy in the Lord makes them salt and light.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- How have you experienced “the delight of God’s company” recently?
Monday: Salt Enhances Flavor
Tim Keller, last week, gave the illustration of how corn on the cob isn’t good without salt,
but if corn is good (partly because of salt) he wouldn’t say,
What great salt, but rather, what great corn!
Salt enhances flavor but doesn’t draw attention to itself.
When people play pickleball (or any other game) with my friend Twila, they don’t usually say, “What an amazing player you are,” but rather, “that was a really fun game.” Twila laughs, encourages, and helps people save face. Twila is like the quality of salt that enhances flavor. Wherever she is, she makes things better. Why does she have so much joy?
She is convinced God loves her (Abba’s Child was pivotal) and she abides in Christ through memorization. The fruit of that is joy and joy makes her both salt and light.
I loved Keller’s point that salt doesn’t draw attention to itself but simply enhances the food it is sprinkled on. Like salt, Twila enhances the flavor wherever she is, but does not draw attention to herself.
3. Read Matthew 5:13
A. What does Jesus call believers? Why, do you think?
B. What do you think He means when He warns against salt that has lost it’s saltiness?
4. Think about your life situations — do you enhance flavor wherever you are? Why or why not?
Tuesday: Salt Slows Rottenness in the World.
Another important quality of salt is that it slows down rotting.
John Stott writes:
“Jesus, of course, did not say, “You are the honey of the world.” He said, “You are the salt of the earth.” Salt bites, and the unadulterated message of the judgment and grace of God has always been a biting thing.”
My friend Lara absolutely exudes joy — she is so constantly thankful for Jesus’ rescue. Last week she told me, “I can’t stop singing!” She lived something of a wild life before Jesus found her and rescued her, and she started coming to our church, “The Orchard” four years ago. She works all weekend (we live in a tourist spot) and was looking for a church that didn’t meet on Sunday, and we meet Monday nights. She showed up — full of joy! Her life is hard in many ways! She is one who works so hard to make ends meet, and has faced many trials — yet joy simply bubbles out of her. She expresses thankfulness every time I see her. Every Monday night she says, “I’m so thankful for my family at The Orchard.”
When Lara’s ex-husband lost his job and needed a place to stay, he pleaded with Lara to let him live with her. As a baby Christian, she felt the loving thing to do was to say yes. (She was being “honey” and not “salt.”) But instead of looking for a job, he sat in her trailer all day watching television. Debbie, who was a little further down the road from Lara in her walk with Christ, said, “Bring me your television. I’ll keep it for you and let’s see if it makes a positive change in him.” (Debbie was providing the needed salt!) So Lara did. And though Lara’s ex accused her of being so mean, it also caused him to move out and start looking for a job. If Lara’s ex had stayed, rottenness would have set in for both of them. Instead, her ex is doing better, and Lara has maintained a peaceful relationship with him.
Debbie was salt.
Lara was salt.
And rottenness was stayed.
5. Salt has a “bite.” How do you see that in the story above?
6. Share a time when the bite of salt from a sister or brother in Christ helped you.
7. Where is God calling you to be as bold as salt? (Be still before Him and then ask for His help!)
Wednesday: You Are The Light of The World
This world is a dark, dark place without Christ. Travel to countries where the pagan influence has gone on for centuries, and you will be horrified by what is accepted as normal treatment for women and children. Sex slavery, brutality, revenge, and death are constant. When I read “Half the Sky” I was horrified to see how many in those dark lands felt the sexual molestation of women and children was perfectly okay. Terrorists feel justified in taking the lives of the innocent. One of the very few things Democrats and Republicans agree on in our country is that something must be done for these women and children. Half the Sky reports that more women have died due to this sexual abuse then all the men in all the wars in all the world in the last century. But we don’t know, because they are women. You can also see the documentary on You-Tube and Amazon. Here’s the trailer:
How dark we can become without the light of Christ, as dark as a moonless midnight in the forest.
Though the Western world is no longer considered Christian, we do benefit from those who have gone before. Their lights still flicker. Many unbelievers still embrace some standards of Christian morality, though they no longer can identify the source or explain why they do.
Studies show Christianity moves away from wealth, for people feel self-sufficient. And our country is rotting. How it needs believers to be both as bold as salt and as bright as light, even though there will be a cost. It may mean we will lose friends, jobs, reputation, and wealth. But we must not put our light under a bushel to save what we cannot keep.
As Jim Elliot said:
Our own Rebecca told a story a few weeks ago of being asked to falsify records at a job before an audit. She told her employer that before God she could not do it. He told her if she didn’t do it, he would have to let her go. She said, “Then you will have to let me go.” Rebecca was being both salt and light.
And Rebecca exudes joy.
It is important to not just point out the wrong path, but, as light does, show the right path. His Word helps us with that.
This is so important in parenting. Children need to be trained. I remember my dad used to get angry with me and say, “Dee Dee – – use your head!” I didn’t know how to do that – I only felt condemned. I did love my father and wanted to please him but didn’t know how to do that – -though that sounds crazy — I was a simple child who couldn’t figure it out. But I remember one time when I had resisted doing something he asked me to do and he said, “I want you to be respectful and obedient. I want to hear, “Yes, Dad, I will be glad to do that.'” It was so simple — but helpful. That was light to the right path.
8. What stands out to you from the above and why?
9. Read Matthew 5:14-16
A. What does Jesus say believers are to be? What do you think this means?
B. Think of a situation where you may be tempted to put your light under a bushel. Why? How could you speak to your soul to overcome that tendency?
C. What is the contrast in this passage to putting your light under a bushel? What does Jesus say this will result in?
10. How has the Lord been a light to you recently?
Thursday-Friday: Mike Reeves on Spurgeon
When we delight in the company of Christ, we will be exude joy and naturally be salt and light. Charles Spurgeon was a wonderful example of this. Learn from Michael Reeves as to why this was true and then share your comments or notes.
11. Notes or comments:
12. What is your take-a-way and why?