Called to Influence

{Matthew 5:13-16; ESV}

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”

Jesus, through his use of the metaphors of salt and light, called his followers to influence the world. We influence the world, impact the culture, and change lives, through the way we live our lives. Our lives are the authenticating stamp on Gospel for our neighbors. Our lives declare whether or not Jesus is worth following.

It is easy to turn towards things like politics and law making to change culture. Though he was tempted to take this path, Jesus consistently rejected the way of politics. Instead he chose the way of sacrificial love as the path to change the world. His love, woven together with his teachings, influenced a small group of followers to risk persecution and death which allowed them to change the world.

I would suggest to you that the reason the Church has lost her influence in the United States of America is because the people of God have not lived as the people of God. Instead we have chosen to adapt the teachings of Jesus to fit with the way of the world. The result is that we have a sickly faith that influences almost no one.

Jesus warned us what would happen if we were not committed to following him. Salt, Jesus said, that had lost its flavor is good for nothing. Therefore a church that is compromised with the world looses its ability to influence culture.

In Revelation 3 Jesus told the church family at Laodicea, a church that lost her ability to influence people, that he would spit them out of his mouth because they were lukewarm and no longer good for anything.

A light is not turned on and then covered up. A light is lit so people can see their surroundings. Just as salt serves the purposes of adding flavor and preserving, light serves the purpose of allowing people to see. Light and salt are useful, and thus influence the behavior of people.

Living our lives in a way that is not useful causes us to loose our ability to influence those around us. Being useful opens up the way for us to be people of influence. It allows people to see that following Jesus makes a positive difference in our lives.

To be people of influence is all about surrendering our lives to Jesus so he can use us in the life of another person. We don't need a ton of talent or have all the answers. What we need is a heart that has chosen to trust Jesus more than anything else in the world.

I want you to consider something Henry Blackaby wrote:

But my heart cry is to say it is crucial that we hold ourselves accountable to a life of holiness—that if we walk righteously, there will come a response from God. Our lives will be a highway over which God shall come.

Holiness, p. 90

What Blackaby reminds us of is that when we live lives of holiness, lives that resemble salt and light, then our lives become the avenue God uses to touch the life of another person. What matters is the way we live, because we are to be a living testimony for the love and truth of the Gospel.

Followers of Jesus are called to be people of influence in the world. This reality has little to do with political connections, brilliant rhetoric, or being multi-talented. It has everything to do with the faith we have in Jesus and how that faith is seen in our lifestyle. People are influenced when we show them the difference Jesus makes in our lives.

Questions to consider:

  • What is the truth Jesus is communicating through the use of the metaphors of salt and light?
  • In what ways is your life salt or light?
  • Why is it important for us to be people of influence?

 

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