~By: Susanna Kozlow~
“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)
We live in a world where someone’s opinion of us becomes more relevant than the truth. We are so silent with the truth that if someone dares to question it, we become so afraid to open our mouths. We think if we speak the truth we risk disunity. Or, we believe the lie that it is a reflection of our own opinion which would mean - that horrible word we are so afraid of - we may appear "judgmental." The truth is, it is what God says - and what God says is black or white. There is no gray in between. When my Lord and Savior walked this earth, He walked with the truth, and for one purpose - God’s purpose, not His own. If we follow Jesus, we follow God’s purpose, not our own feelings or agenda. I remember when I came to accept Jesus in my life. What was defining to me most is that He allowed me to go into an environment that said, “Hey, you either follow Christ or you don’t. There is no in between. You either allow Him to take over, or you follow your own ways. You either believe He is the King of Kings and the only way to God, or you don’t.” How can these statement seem so hard and black and white? Because it’s in God’s word. It’s in the Scripture that we say is alive in us. Dying to yourself isn’t going to be an easy process. It’s the hardest part of our lives coming to Christ. It’s a daily decision. It’s a different way of thinking. It’s a minute by minute longing for the Holy Spirit. It’s not perfection. We will never be perfect. We will make mistakes. We will fight the enemy everyday. Our lives will be turned upside down...but...we will experience freedom like never before, we will fight with the body of Christ, we will understand so much more of our lives than what we thought, and our chains will begin to come off. We will begin to see God’s heart because we long for it and God’s character because we want to understand His ways.
Jesus said to count the cost of following Him. " Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:27-28) Jesus lays out the terms of discipleship. Jesus requires a transfer of ownership (Luke 9:23; Galatians 5:24). “Counting the cost” means recognizing and agreeing to some terms first. In following Christ, we cannot simply follow our own inclinations. We cannot follow Him and the world's way at the same time (Matthew 7:13-14). Following Him may mean we lose relationships, dreams, material things, or even our lives. Why would we think it would be an easy life, if He had to say that?
Let’s examine why we are so afraid to speak that truth. Are we waiting for an opportunity when, in actuality, everyday is an opportunity? Are we so afraid of people running from us, that our own agenda becomes more important? Do we pick Scripture as truth when it depends on ourselves and not another? Why are we not desperate enough to see dead bones come to life?
We can never position someone’s heart to follow Jesus. We can never save anyone. The Holy Spirit will do that. But the truth is, we are His vessels to notice when we are put in a position to speak truth. We don’t wait for our Pastors to do it, or leaders in a church, or bible study, or even this blog. We don’t wait when opportunities arise. God’s Word will never return void. We have to believe that with our entire souls and hearts. We have to be okay to risk it all for the sake of God’s Will and Kingdom. Jesus risked it all and gave His life for all we have. We are the salt and light of the world as followers of Christ. May we never lose our saltiness and may our lights shine brighter than any others.