Friday, September 10, 2010

Youth Group Scoop

Yesterday went great. I could tell y'all were in my corner when I pulled up at Walmart (for the second time by 9:00 a.m.) and got the first parking space by the front door. That spot only becomes available with much prayer and fasting. =) Jack's test also went well, as did my speaking at the meeting.

Today I'm on to youth group. I write a devotional to present at our youth group's meeting once a month. I thought since we haven't had a Food for Thought Friday in a while, I'd share what I've written for that with you.

Spice it Up—Don’t Be a Flavorless Christian

When we look around us at the world God has created, we can tell one thing immediately—He is not a dull God. Everywhere we look there is color, there is variety; He created different personality types, different places, different faces. Even the food we eat offers endless possibilities and flavor combinations.

So often when the world thinks of Christians, they think God wants us to be bland and boring. But, the opposite is true. He expects us to take the talents He’s given us, the personality He’s supplied, and the Holy Spirit who indwells us, and use all these to flavor our world. He even speaks about it in His word.

What is the most important spice in the world? Without a doubt, it’s salt. Salt plays a major role in our cooking. It’s something we all use, and salt is a major example that God uses to convey a message to us. Let’s stop for just a minute and look at four different ways salt is mentioned in the Bible and the implications they hold for us.

The first is back in the Old Testament, in Leviticus 2:13. “Season all your grain offering with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” Salt is important. Especially in ancient times, it was costly and invaluable to the diet. Think about it guys, in the days before refrigerators, salt was a major preservative. Why was ‘the salt of the covenant’ a command? God didn’t want them skimping on what they brought. He gives us His best. He expects our best in return. Serving Him doesn’t come without cost. First and foremost, to be of any good in this work, to add any flavor, we must be willing to give up some of ourselves to follow Him.

Next, let’s take a look at the passage we probably all think of most when we think of salt in the Bible. It’s found in Matthew 5:13. This is one of the first things recorded in Matthew’s gospel after Jesus called His disciples and began His ministry. “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 by men.” Ouch! I don’t want to be thought of as good for nothing, and neither do you. We are the salt of the earth—essential, flavorful, a preservative. But we must guard against losing our effectiveness. How do we do that? What makes us lose our effectiveness? It’s the same thing that hampered the salt of Jesus’ day—impurities. Where Christ lived, salt was supplied from the Dead Sea. It could also include impurities which affected the flavor. When we allow the impurities of sin to creep into our lives, we lose our “flavor” with the world. In fact, the more we sin and still announce to the world “I’m a Christian,” the more we end up leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

Third, let’s flip over a gospel to Mark 9:50. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Again there is a warning about losing our flavor which means it’s something we’ve really got to be careful about. This time it’s followed by a command to have salt in ourselves and to be at peace with each other. Adding flavor to the world is hard to do when we’re fussing with each other. And it’s easy to lose the peace when we get caught up in looking around at those around us instead of working on ourselves. We have to work at acquiring our saltiness and we do that through studying the word and becoming more like Christ.

Lastly, it’s Colossians 4:6. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” We’ve moved from salt in general to salt in ourselves, to salt in our relationships to salt in our speech. Why would we make that progression? Because, the main we interact with others is through our conversations. The way we make an impact is through our words. We need to be sure that they include the “preservatives” of grace and Christ-likeness. One of the best qualities of salt is its ability to preserve. When we filter our words through the “whatsoever is true, noble, right…” filter of Philippians 4:8, we can be sure that we are preserved from a whole lot of trouble and adding a good saltiness to the world around you.

So go ahead, spice things up. That’s what you were meant to do. There’s nothing boring or bland about what God created you to be. And that is something to be thankful for.

Have a wonderful weekend!


kidsrgr8 said...

great lesson Kelly!!

LV said...

This is very inspiring. Makes me feel like I have been to church. Wonderful job and you have been blessed.

Anonymous said...

wow, this was a great way to start my morning!! very much food for thought today. i will love meditating on this. thanks!! Joey

Kelly Mac said...

Thank you! Yes, youth group went well. They did seem very interested in our devotion. When you can get teenage boys to share opinions, you're making progress.