Saturday, July 24, 2010

Salt and Light

In his book Velvet Elvis Rob Bell sums up what it means to follow Jesus: "As a Christian, I am simply trying to orient myself around living a particular kind of way, the kind of way that Jesus taught is possible. And I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live.”  The older I get and the longer I follow Jesus the more convinced I become that Bell is correct: The way of Jesus is the best way to live.  That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it does mean that it is good.

Why do I think the way of Jesus is the best way to live?  One reason I think the way of Jesus’ way is the best way to live is because it helps me make sense of the world.  To understand that there are other forces at work in the world than God is absolutely vital to understanding the context of our lives.  Not only has Jesus come to give us life, but there is a thief who is working to steal, kill, and destroy that life.  Christianity helps me make sense of life.

A second reason why I believe Jesus’ way of living is the best way to live is because it gives me a part to play in making this world a better place.  The choices that we make either bring love, hope, and joy into this world or they bring in fear, heart-ache, and pain.  When we give ourselves over to the love, compassion, and generosity, the way modeled by Jesus, we are able to make this world a better place. 

The way of Jesus reminds us that life isn’t about our best life now, but it is about joining God in bring love, hope, and help to a world that is in desperate need.  Our lives are but loans from God and we are to use them to benefit the world around us, and that all begins with the choices that we make.  These choices form the content of our lives, and thus they reveal the presence (or the lack of) faith, hope, joy, peace, and love in our lives.  The way we live our lives become the evidence of whether or not following Jesus is the best way to live.

On the Sermon on the Mount Jesus put it this way:
"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world--like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father”  (Matthew 5:13-16; NLT).

We can give a reasoned defense on why the way of Jesus is the best way to live, but for most people that won’t matter, because they have been sold a bunch of lies before.  What people are looking for is whether or not following Jesus works.  That is why the best evidence for the Truth of Jesus is the way His followers live, and that is what being the salt of the earth and the light of the world is all about.  Are you being salt and light?

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