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I’m glad that you came back. I know you may have thought twice about it. I understand. I get it. I don’t blame you.
I’ve been pretty tough on all of my fellow Christians lately.
I’ve been tearing us down quite a bit.
I’ve been pretty candid about how I believe we are letting the mission of Christ fall to the wayside.
But who really wants to hear someone complain and criticize and condemn, if that’s all they do?
Who wants to sit around and listen to someone tell them everything that they’re doing wrong if they’re not going to offer some suggestions on how to fix it?
So, in response to my previous few posts, I want to offer some suggestions.
I want to start out by talking about french fries. Who doesn’t love french fries?
I think that even health-fanatics can admit that french fries are delicious, even if they’re not good for you.
(On a side-note, french fries are one of several foods that we need to just leave alone. Stop trying to make them healthier. They aren’t supposed to be. Leave them in the same category as bacon, cheese cake, and ice cream. Best enjoyed in their original forms.)
Back to the point. Fresh, hot french fries are delicious! I love McDonald’s fries right out of the fryer. Who doesn’t?
The thing with fresh, hot McDonald’s fries, though, is that they must have the perfect amount of salt on them. The right amount of salt makes them delicious. The right amount of salt makes you want to wash them down with an ice-cold drink. It makes you “good thirsty” instead of just thirsty. Some people prefer sweet tea. Some people prefer soda. I think when it comes to french fries, I prefer soda.
Back to the salt.
The right amount of salt on french fries makes them irresistible. French fries without salt are just bland. They are just another vegetable dish.
On the other hand, too much salt on your fries makes them unbearable.
What is the point, you ask?
Well, I’m glad that you did.
The point is this, we are the salt!
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says we are the salt of the Earth! He then goes on to say that salt which is not salty, has no use. It’s good for nothing.
What does this mean to me?
It means if I call myself a Christ follower or a Christian, then there needs to be a little flavor to my life. I have to be different from everyone else. My actions should make people thirsty for more.
More of what?
More of Christ, of course!
How do I do that?
Everywhere I go, I should be sprinkling Jesus-salt on people (figuratively, of course). But just enough to make them thirsty.
I’ll come back to that.
Let’s talk about what we need to stop doing.
You people who are too much salt….
Trying to force people who aren’t Christians to agree with your way of thinking by divisive, critical statements, and insulting, demeaning social media posts, is NOT gonna make anyone thirsty for Jesus.
Not being able to have a conversation with someone about how great God is without trying to force them to come to church with you just makes you pushy.
Telling people they’re going to Hell, shouting your political views, and forcing your theology down others’ throats makes them choke on your pretend-concern for them.
Inviting people to sit down and have a conversation with you about something they do that you don’t agree with, when you don’t ever want to sit down with them any other time, just makes you seem like a bully.
Now, to my people who have a lack of salt.
You. Are. Just. Boring.
You are the same ol’ same ol’.
Just another fried potato!
Just another vegetable in a casserole full of vegetables.
Living like the world lives.
Doing the same thing you were doing before you came face-to-face with the amazing love of Christ.
Keeping the salt on the shelf so as not to look too “crazy” to all of the other people around you who actually need to hear about Christ.
This is just as bad as being too overbearing.
- You’re in debt up to your eyeballs trying to “fit in” and live the way everybody else lives.
- Your relationship with your spouse is in shambles and you make it public knowledge.
- You’re on level 236 of Candy Crush or you know everything about The Walking Dead, but have no personal in-depth understanding of the life of Jesus.
You can’t “not” share the love of Jesus with people and think you are demonstrating the love of Jesus to them. It’s impossible. You are simply a Sunday morning church-goer (sorry, not sorry). You are the salt that has lost it’s saltiness.
We, as Christians, need to be the salt Jesus was talking about. We need to influence people out of love, and make them thirsty for more. We are to be disciples of Christ, and thereby…. make more disciples.
So, what is a disciple? A disciple, in a nut-shell, is a student or follower.
A disciple follows their instructor around everywhere he goes, and tries to learn to become just like that teacher by doing everything he does.
In the case of Christians, our teacher is Jesus. So our goal, as disciples, is to follow Jesus in an effort to become just like Him.
If we are bullies, we are NOT like Jesus!
If we are just like everybody else in this broken world, we are NOT like Jesus!
In his book, Multiply, Francis Chan says:
It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. That’s the whole point of being a disciple of Jesus: we imitate Him, carry on His ministry, and become like Him in the process.
Yet somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a “Christian” without being like Christ. A “follower” who doesn’t follow. How does that make any sense? Many people in the church have decided to take on the name of Christ and nothing else. This would be like Jesus walking up to those first disciples and saying, ‘Hey, would you guys mind identifying yourselves with me in some way? Don’t worry, I don’t actually care if you do anything that I do or change your lifestyle at all. I’m just looking for people who are willing to say they believe in me and call themselves Christians.’ Seriously?
So, what did the disciples do that made them look like Christ?
Well, for one, we know they accepted criticism and condemnation, and reacted with love and generosity.
What does that mean for us?
How about we start displaying the love and humility of Jesus by letting people be wrong? Accept the fact that some people are going to say things you don’t agree with or do things you know isn’t best for them…and love them anyway.
You don’t have to debate the issue with them or try to change their mind. Maybe when they see this, they will want to know why you don’t react when they push your buttons. Then, in the love of Christ, you can share with them what Jesus means to you, and what he can offer them, as well.
Another thing we know about the disciples, is they moved around a lot, and when they ventured to foreign cities, they prayed for people.
They prayed for people who were complete strangers!
My Uncle Mike passed away a few years ago. He was one of the most sincere men of God that I’ve ever met. I remember as a child, we could be at a restaurant or store, and he would feel the Holy Spirit prodding him to go and pray for a particular person in the place. My Uncle Mike would literally walk right up to them and tell them “I don’t know what you have going on in your life right now, but the Holy Spirit just told me to come and pray for you”.
He would then pray for them, just like the disciples did, in front of everyone.
He had an amazing relationship with Christ. He had faith in God like no one else I know.
I would see people who were hurting, and scared, and full of shame and guilt, just melt into sobbing puddles of tears.
My Uncle never forced his belief down anyone’s throat. He never handed them an “invite” card afterwards, or tried to talk them into coming to church. He acted on behalf of Christ by being the “salt” that I believe made people thirsty for more.
When is the last time you prayed for a total stranger?
A lot of “Christians” I know don’t even pray to God in earnest when they are alone.
Most “Christians” won’t even pray to God in front of other Christians. Or they’d rather not.
If you don’t have a relationship with Christ, can you call yourself a “Christian”?
Calling yourself a Christian because you go to church is like me calling myself a gardener because I read Better Homes & Gardens magazines.
I can call myself a gardener because I sow seeds in the spring; I nurture them and care for them all summer long; and I gather my fruits and vegetables in the fall. My work is tangible. There is evidence of it.
I am challenging myself to start praying for total strangers more often. You don’t have to hear from the Holy Spirit to know who to pray for. We all see homeless, destitute, hurting people every single day.
How about if we all start out by praying for our friends when they are going through hard times or are being negative? I mean pray for them… out loud… in front of them. Even the ones who don’t go to church.
In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus says:
Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
I am going to start making an effort to walk up to people and pray for them.
Notice I said pray for them.
- I’m not going to hound them to come visit my church.
- I’m not going to promise them everything will get better.
- I’m not going to try to convert them on the street corner.
I’m going to be the salt that will hopefully make them thirsty.
It’s not my duty as a disciple to sit around and wait to see if it happens. I’m going to leave that up to God.
What else can we do?
We know the disciples lived meager lives in order to give to those who were in need. I’m not saying that we have to live meagerly, but a lot of us don’t even live within our means. We live on credit. In this way, when we see a person in need, we can’t even help them.
This is horrible!
As long as Satan can convince you to be a slave to the debtors, he can scratch you off of the list of people to worry about changing the world for Christ.
Let’s just love people who are hurting. Let’s stop making God all about us and start making God all about the people in this world who need to meet Him. Let’s stop calling ourselves Christians if we’re afraid to be like Christ to a desperate world.
In fact, let’s become the Christians that this world needs.
Let’s have our own personal revivals.
I think we have an awesome responsibility.
I think we as Christ followers, have the potential to change the world by becoming a city
on a hill.
I believe Jesus loves us and is excited about the potential we have.
I think if we start following Him everywhere, and doing everything He does, He will show up!
I think He will show up in a BIG way!
God calls us to be bold!
How are you going to challenge yourself to be more of a disciple of Christ?
Why do you think “Christians” are afraid to pray for people, or in front of other people?