Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Matthew 5: Beatitudes, Salt, and Light

I've been reading in Matthew since the end of Christmas break, and chapter 5 has been blowing me away!  Sunday morning at church, Pastor Dean's sermon was even on chapter 5 (which I had no idea was coming in his messages), and I was thrilled!  I love learning more and more about my Lord.  When things happen, I don't call it "coincidence" but God's divine appointment.  He controls it all anyways.
In Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, The Beatitudes (or Be-Attitudes, as I like to think of them) are one of His beautiful messages.  Being blessed isn't just being happy, because happiness comes from the world.  Being blessed comes from the joy and peace experienced by those who have accepted Christ because that is what He gives.  Here Jesus mentions those who are humble and know their sins, the meek (not weak, but know they must depend on God and not themselves), those who desire to know Him, those who show mercy, those pure in heart, those who look to be at peace with all people, and those who a persecuted because they live for Him.  The end of this section says,
"Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven..."  (verse 12)
Through every circumstance, thick or thin, sky-high or valley-low, God blesses His children.  We can always be optimistic because He is saving a place for us in heaven.
In John 14:1-2, Jesus also says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in Me.  In My Father's house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would not have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you."
The only way to personally be able to experience and understand these blessings, joy, and peace, and to have your eternal home in heaven is through a relationship with Christ.  "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  John 14:6
13 “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, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
 
The next section of Matthew 5 is more of Jesus teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.  To many people this would not make much sense.  --Why is He talking about salt and light?  That's food flavoring and light.--There is so much deeper meaning to it than that! 
 
When other things are added to salt, it makes it less salty, loses its flavor.  This same thing happens when Christians let impurities come into their lives.  They are less useful for the Lord; they lose their purpose for being "salty."  God is the shaker, and we are the salt He uses to go into the world.
 
When we accept Christ, He puts a light inside our souls.  Not a light to be covered, but a light to be shined into the darkness!  This isn't to shine our light so people can see "Makenzie's light," but so that they may see "God's light shining through Makenzie" and desire that same relationship with Christ.  The joy of the Lord can uplift anyone's spirit at any time, in any circumstance if you just allow Him into your heart!