Monday, February 13, 2023

A Powerful Influence

 Monday, February 13, 2023

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. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

A Powerful Influence

Salt is a hidden but powerful influence. Light is a visible and revealing influence. Jesus tells us that we are not only to be the salt of the earth but also the light of the world. We are called to make a visible impact on the world around us.

How do we do that? Well, Jesus said that we needed to make the light visible to as many as possible by refusing to allow it to be hidden but rather positioning it so it shines on everyone around. 

There are some who claim that a person's religion is to be a personal thing. I agree that it is a personal thing in that each person must make a personal decision whether they are going to believe in Jesus. But this is not generally what those making this statement mean. They usually mean that it should be kept to oneself - not openly shared. And they usually make the statement in order to avoid sharing what they believe or do not believe. But Jesus teaches that a person's faith is to be openly shared and lived before the watching world. It is to shine forth for all to see, not so we can proclaim how good a person we are, but so that others can know there is a God who loves them and will act on their behalf. We are to influence others for God.

President Woodrow Wilson told the story of one such encounter. He said: "I was in a very common place.  I was sitting in a barber chair, when I became aware that a powerful personality had entered the room.  A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself, to have his hair cut, and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. And before I got through with what was being done to me, I was aware that I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. D.L. Moody was in that chair. I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular effect that his visit had brought upon the barber shop. They talked in undertones. They didn't know his name but they knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship."

Our lives should be lives that reflect something more than the world has, because we have more than they have - we have Jesus. We want them to want what we have and to know what He has done for us. He has saved us, forgiven us, changed our hearts, given us hope, put His love in us, given us joy, set our feet on the rock which cannot be shaken. If He does not make a difference in your life, then you either need to be born again or you need to repent of sin and allow Him to rekindle the fire of your first love.

Jesus said that we are to let our lights shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. In other words, there must be an intentionality to letting our lights shine. We must determine to be deliberately evangelistic through good deeds and acts of kindness. When people see that we are people who care because we are people who know Him, they will see more clearly. The light will shine on them.

Is the light of Christ shining through you? Are you allowing His light to be made visible in your life? Or has the light gone out? Has the passion for God become religious ritual and routine? Don't hide the light under a basket. Take it out and hold it high. We were not created to be secret disciples or to have quiet discussions on religious topics. We were created in the new creation to be firebrands for God - torches which are held high to burn for Him. Now more than ever this lost world needs to know and it is our job to show them.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5

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