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Identity Statements

I'm 2 weeks into teaching through the sermon on the mount at Colossae.  We just covered Matthew 5:13-16 and walked through a few things that seemed to really stand out to people in these verses.  I know they did to me as well.  Here are a two very brief points I think changes the way we view this passage as well as ourselves:

  1. These are not commands.  We often think we need to try and be salt and light in the world.  But that's not what Jesus is saying here.
  2. This is an identity statement.  We don't need to try and be salt and light, because Jesus says his disciples ARE salt and light.  Jesus says, "You are salt..." and he says "You are the light..."

So, the question isn't whether or not we are these things.   The question is whether or not we are identifying ourselves as Jesus identifies us and living authentic to who he's made us to be.  It's an issue of identity.  How we identify ourselves will drive every aspect of our lives.  The truth is most of us don't view ourselves as being salt and light and so we don't live as that daily.  We identify ourselves in all sorts of other things and being salt and light is just something we think we should do because we are Christian.

If we viewed ourselves as Jesus identifies his disciples, our lives would look much different.  It would look much more like, well, salt and light.

So, here are 3 things I find helpful in embracing who we are:

  1. Recognize inauthenticity.  If we are not being salt and light, we need to repent and pray for God to give us the desire to be who He has made us to be.  We may even get very pointed in our prayers by saying something like, "God, make my desire to be who I am greater than my desire to be selfish."
  2. Digest scripture.  Scripture is God-breathed and is a means God uses to renew our minds.  If we desire to be who we are then we must be in scripture which constantly reminds of our identity and how to be authentic to that.
  3. Community.  To be who we are requires living among other disciples who are trying to figure all this stuff out.  We can't just show up on a Sunday morning and then go back to our life until Wednesday's small group - which we just go to and then go back to our life.  Our life must also be entangled outside of any organized circles with the lives of others who have are also salt and light.

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