Four years ago I started a study that went one week and stopped. “Stuff” happened and I took time off from blogging. But as we head into summer, I’d like to restart. Join me in the journey – Steve
by Stephen Dunn
The Apostle Paul wrote “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Romans 12:1)
JB Phillips had a great paraphrase of that passage: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”
This is a tall order because the world does its best to define our worth, our values, and our actions. The recent furor over Dan Cathy and Chick Fil-A rose up because there were many in the world offended by his personal convictions about traditional marriage and the homosexual lifestyle.
Christians, who for years lived in a world where Christianity was tacitly affirmed by the civil religion of America now find that to be an authentic and biblical Christian requires them to be a countercultural peeople. Most would rather hide out in the world.
Others, who have been enamored with the health and wealth gospel, which is more often sanctified capitalism than Christianity, grow restless and even angry with the increasing costliness of Christian witness and Christian values. They want their reward now, not in eternity.
Yet we cannot escape the stark words of Jesus spoken to his disciples on the night that he was to be betrayed. ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.” Troubled by that we often miss his next words, “But take heart, for I have overcome the world ...” (John 16.33)
Living an authentic Christian faith requires us to be on mission with Jesus (my favorite definition of today’s hot word, missional.) And Jesus early on told his disciples what that would look like. We find these words in the Sermon on the Mount:
“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.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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.In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5.13-16)
Salt and Light are necessities of a Christian life — they are inescapable necessities.
As we move forward with this study of Salt and Light Christianity, I invite your initial comments on this text–especially your understanding of what it means to be salt and light.
I will post again next Wednesday with my reflections of the declaration/command, “You are the light of the world …”
© 2012,2016 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org