Dear Friends and Family,
As in any culture, Christians are called by the world to blend into “political correctness.” In the first century Jewish-Roman culture, Christ was also expected to be religiously and politically correct. However, he challenged the men and women following him as disciples to be like salt and light and leaven in a dark and decaying humanity. Centuries later, we know there is nothing new about sin in our world or the pressures we feel to be like everybody else. Christian persecution, because of our Lord Jesus, is very real and tangible in our 21st century world.
In Matthew 5:11-13, Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 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” (NIV).
Preacher Vance Havner writes, “. . . salt seasons, purifies, and preserves. But somebody ought to remind us that salt also irritates. Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way.” He also notes, “Salt preserves from spoiling and putrefaction. The world would have been utterly unendurable long ago but for the salt of the saints.”1
Using the acronym, SALT, we can become salty disciples of Christ:
S – Stand exactly where Christ stands – follow in his steps.
A – Access the compass of God’s Word constantly.
L – Lean only upon the strength of the Holy Spirit within us (Acts 1:8).
T – Testify truth daily in both our words and in our walk.
S – Stand exactly where Christ stands – follow in his steps. Over the past fifty plus years, Ron has continued to read and study the four gospels to clearly know and identify Christ’s steps to follow and walk in them. It is essential to understand that our own human steps can sometimes lead us off-track from truth, but walking in Christ’s direction will never lead us astray.
God gives us four Gospels – each inspired by the Holy Spirit through four different men from four different perspectives. Each man wrote about Jesus, relating where and why he walked for three and one-half years upon this earth. Christ’s journey took him from the market place (as a carpenter in the business world), into the world of relationships (as a son, brother, friend, teacher, and the living Son of God), and to the religious sector (as God’s Lamb and the promised Messiah). Jesus clearly shows us where and how we must stand in these arenas of our own lives.
A – Access the compass of God’s Word constantly. Having access to the compass of God, his Word, we can travel through our world knowing it gives us truth and direction. The world with its Prince Satan can only give confusing and false directions; Satan stands against the truth of God. It is important to use God’s Word as our compass in life instead of seeing God’s Word through the lens of the world we live in. Often too busy with life, we forget to start and end each day with a determined focus on God’s Word. We may call it our “quiet time” with prayer and Bible study, but we must commune with God to stabilize our path. When this time with God becomes irregular, our life becomes detached and confusing. Without spiritual connection and direction from God, we find ourselves adrift in this world.
L – Lean only upon the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit within us. We cannot trust or count on our own meager human strength and wisdom. Before the disciples went out into their world, the Lord gave them a promise in Acts 1:8 that they would receive God’s power to be his witnesses in a world needing their “salt” to preserve this world from decay. Without Christ in Christians, there is no hope in the world. He gives us his power and wisdom through his Holy Spirit; we never have to rely on our own strength.
T – Testify to truth daily in both our word and walk. We testify of Jesus’ life in our words and in our walk. Now is our opportunity to share Jesus Christ with the world we live in. It is important to understand that in all the ages of the church, it has not been the great speakers who affect the world but the average disciple who shares and lives like Christ in the world. These men and women are the ones who turned the world upside down in the first century and still do today. In spite of what we hear and feel about the failure of the Christian faith, there are more Christians in the world today than ever in history. For example, in China, over 200 million Christians claim Christ as their Lord, and are salty disciples permeating and sharing Christ as they go. Christianity is spreading like wildfire around our globe.
A Ron Wells’ paraphrase of Matthew 28:19-20 can serve as a challenge to each one of us as believers: “As you are going through your life experiences each day, make disciples in every place – and teach them all the things the Holy Spirit has taught you . . . and know that I will be with you always in every place and circumstance!” THIS is discipleship in action!
Rick Renner writes:If you got real honest with yourself, would you judge yourself to be steady, sturdy, and reliable — or unpredictable and undependable? Don’t view yourself as small, insignificant, or unimportant. God needs you, and other people are depending on you. It’s time for you to realize that God meant for you to be a part of the foundation of the Body of Christ! You can be a “rock” in His family and a person on whom others can lean and depend.2
Ron and Beth Wells
Web: www.centrepoint.cc and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Thank you for your help in supporting Centrepoint Ministries with prayers and gifts as we reach out to individuals and families in crisis.
1Vance Havner. “Salt,” The Vance Havner Quote Book, Sparkling Gems From The Most Quoted Preacher in America, Compiled by Dennis J. Hester (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986), 199.
2Rick Renner, “You are One of God’s Pillars,” Sparkling Gems from the Greek: 365 Greek Word Studies for Every Day of the Year, (Tulsa: Harrison House, 2003) March 12th.