Irritants

"You are the salt of the earth." Matthew 5:13...."The world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 1:14...."Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way....this world resents the light that exposes its corruption." Vance Havner

Likely you've heard, or even used the expression, "rubbing salt into the wound." It's rarely, if ever, associated with something pleasant. Salt is an agent of purification. A common military punishment at one time was flogging. Afterwards, a man's back was severely lacerated. Salt was rubbed into the lacerations as a means of protecting against infection and corruption, but it was painful. The body rebelled against that which was trying to save it. Exactly as does the world in response to the "salt" that those who are His are to be in its midst. Yet how many of us are?

I am not advocating for followers of Christ to be obnoxious, overbearing, unloving and judgemental people, though many of us are. But one who lives for and in Him, is going to, by His very presence in their life, bring light into darkness, and "salt" into corruption. Jesus went about doing good, but they crucified Him for what He spoke and taught. His presence in a fallen world brought open conviction of their sin and lost state. They didn't kill Him for what He did, but for who He was. Where Christ is, sin and darkness cannot be. They will either flee from Him, or seek to destroy Him. That was the response of the world to Him as He walked through it. It remains the response as He walks in it through us. To what, if any degree, are we experiencing any of this ourselves?

In the west, many see the church as irrelevant. The church seeks to respond to this by trying to be relevant, yet I think we miss the real reason they see us as such. We lack in too many ways, the Almighty presence of God within us, and so within this world. We do seek to do many good works, to show love to a world desperate for it, but if the fullness of His Life and Spirit are not in us, and flowing out of us, than we become just another "organization" doing good things, but doing them all in the our own strength. We may get people to join our organization, but He has not taken hold of their hearts, transformed their lives, and brought them into His Kingdom. We try to get people to accept us, and our Lord, without bringing offense. Jesus knew nothing of this approach. He still knows nothing of it. Saul the Pharisee sought to overthrow the church and its Lord. After meeting the Lord Christ on the Damascus Road, he was transformed into a man who was part of a church that turned the world upside down, and "rubbed" countless numbers the wrong way in doing so. They were salt and light, and while they loved their lost world completely, they would never allow themselves to be anything less.....irritants to the darkness and corruption, never ceasing to "rub" the world the wrong way.

Someone said that in the early church, the world kept telling the church to shut up, but that today, the church spends most of its time trying to get its parts to speak up. It's much easier to be silent than to upset the world. That brings a price with it. It's easier to be nice folks doing nice things, than to "preach" not just with actions, but with our words, a message that directly confronts a fallen world value system. So we're faced with a choice; we can "stroke" the world and allow it to be unchanged in its lostness, or we can go against the grain, rubbing it the wrong way, and bring the offer of life. Which one is the result of your life and mine? Are we really bringing purity to the corruption, or do we aid the decay?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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