Yesterday, I stayed home from work and took care of my kids as my wife has been battling some illness the last couple days. First thing, we went outside so they could ride their bikes. I got out a folding camping chair and sat out reading my bible while they raced and laughed and smiled. I read from a different version of the bible than the one I normally read.
You see, I have this weird struggle with trying to read the word, but not letting it get so familiar that it loses its punch. I don't want to be so familiar with it, that I just kind of gloss over it as, "Yeah, I've read that before." If I may use an illustration: When I was dating my wife Jamie, I never would have shown up to see her in some sweatpants and an old t-shirt with paint marks all over it. It doesn't matter if it was our 3rd date or our 30th date, I was going to take a shower, wear clean clothes, and probably splash on some kind of aftershave.
But things change. We've been married 14 years now, and there's been more than a couple days where I wore my pajamas most of the day and/or didn't shower. Being familiar with her, in some ways, allows me to be a little sloppy. I'm not saying it's right, but it happens.
So yesterday I'm reading and watching my kids play and I run into Matthew 5:13; it kicked me in the gut. "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Am I taking God seriously? Am I taking his commands seriously, or am I playing at them, glossing over them like a magazine that I've read before in a Dr.'s office? And then to finish off the one-two punch, I ran straight into verse 20, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The scribes and pharisee's were masters of religion. They knew the right words to say, they knew the scriptures backwards and forwards. They knew the rituals and requirements, but they didn't live it out. They didn't live out, "love God with all your heart." They didn't live out, "love your neighbor as yourself." Instead of living out the blessed life characteristics we see at the beginning of chapter 5 (poor in spirit, meekness, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful, peacemaking, persecuted for being righteous, persecuted for living according to my faith and being like my master Jesus)...I'm wondering if my life doesn't look more like the good moral atheist, or agnostic down the street? I'm wondering what devout Muslims think of my faith when my holy scripture and my life don't mesh up. I'm wondering how I got so sloppy with my faith and the commands of the Son of God?
If salt loses it's saltiness, the only remedy is to get new salt. The old salt is good for nothing but being thrown out, so I'm throwing some attitudes, habits, and behaviors out as their righteousness. It won't be easy, but needed things seldom are. Serious things aren't easy, so if you would, pray for me. Thanks.