When did you last read the Sermon on the Mount?
Of all the sermons Jesus delivered, this one remains the most significant, enduring, and best known . . . all in just a 15-minute read.
I call it, “The Sermon of ALL Sermons” because it is truly a sermon for ALL SEASONS! Jesus never made His words dependent on seasons of full bank accounts, promising great health, bright sunshine, or national peace.
No matter the season, EVERY WORD proves relevant and applicable. No matter how chaotic the tumult that fills our dark world, we who represent the Savior have this two-fold, ongoing responsibility: to shake and to shine.
Remember? “You are the salt of the earth,” and, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14). Not seasonally. Always! No guesswork needed. No happy-go-lucky platitudes.
Jesus talked straight about this life. He said our times would be tough. He even spelled that out:
- Authorities will try to stop us (Matthew 10:17).
- The world will hate us (10:22).
- Satan will try to steal the Word from us (13:19).
- Nations will rage and war around us (24:7).
- False prophets will try to deceive us (24:11).
All these trials will intensify toward the end of the age, but that doesn’t suggest smooth sailing in the meantime. We need to expect huge waves and rough seas. As storm clouds gather, we dare not live fearfully, suspiciously, or combatively. The Spirit empowers us to live confidently, hopefully, and graciously as we “shake and shine.”
I appreciate what one listener recently wrote me describing how she had come to embrace this way of life. Amid a most distressful season, she began:
. . . faithfully reading [the] Scriptures, participating in my church, and listening to Insight for Living . . . God has shown me . . . that I can and should fully rely on Him. . . . I am learning how to become a godly woman in the eyes of my Savior, and each day I get to practice His grace.
Did you catch the end? She counted it a privilege to live as the salt and the light of the world, practicing the grace of Christ she herself has received from Him. That thrills me beyond words!
To help you “shake and shine” your way through every season you will face, here are three don’ts to remember:
Don’t overdo it. Too much salt ruins the food, and a blinding light in the face hurts the eyes. Courtesy and kindness are always appropriate.
Don’t hold back. Risk standing alone when necessary. Yes, some may think you’re weird, but most will later respect you.
Don’t worry about a few critics. A few may try to silence you or argue with you and force you to back off. Shrug it off with a smile.
We at Insight for Living Ministries will follow those same guidelines right alongside you as we deliver the Word of Life to you and others all over the world.
Would you lock arms with us this month in that mission by sending a generous financial gift? Day by day, the Insight for Living broadcast launches out across countless cities in numerous countries to help each ambassador of Christ to be the salt and the light. Donations from individuals like you keep us going each day. Thank you for taking time to consider what our Lord would have you give.
Whatever you may be facing today, keep a biblical perspective. As your good deeds abound, Jesus promised, many will praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). That alone is reason enough to shake and shine!
Pressing on . . . by His grace,
Pastor Charles R. Swindoll