Raising the standardSalt, light, yeast September 20, 2021
What would it be like to be a people that constantly raises the standard? That doesn’t compromise to the world or to the situation we find ourselves in but that encourages others to rise above it? That transforms and shifts the atmosphere around us?
For example, I believe God expects us to find joy in the midst of trial, not because of the situation, but because in Him is joy and He is with us. And from an outside perspective that sounds crazy, I know. But unlike happiness, joy isn’t dependent on my circumstances, joy is totally dependent on God. So, what would that be like, if joy can’t be stolen from us by our trial, because we realize that joy comes from being with Him? He is everlasting and His joy is strength within us! That joy isn’t bound to whatever is going on in my life right now, instead His joy is my joy, and it comes from being bound to Him, mind and soul. Can I bring this joy to my fellow man in days of turmoil? Can I raise the standard?
I love the name Immanuel, cause it reminds me that God is with us. Almighty, Redeemer, Healer, Provider, Deliverer, and Lord everlasting. With us! I treasure these verses from Isaiah:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” Is. 9:6–7 ESVi)
He is everything. I love that these verses promise that of His government and peace there will be no end! He will establish it and uphold it. That’s a promise I’ll keep close to my heart when others say it’s all hopeless. God is on the throne and He comes to live in us, not as babe in a manger but all-powerful and all sufficient. That thought alone should give us hope and have us in awe! Let us ask ourselves this: what would it be like if Gods people would start to show the world the overcomers that God created them to be? It would be magnificent! He expects us to raise expectations, to not be defeated, to destroy the works of the enemy. For He is with us with purpose! But if we don’t know God, don’t know who He is, don’t realize everything that Jesus brings when He comes to live in us, how can we make a difference?
I sometimes stop and ask myself, what would it be like if I lived life with the reality of Jesus alive in me? If I lived Him out loud? See, I know in my head of Jesus. I know what He did for me and I’m ever grateful. But, the more I grow as a Christian, the more I realize how little head knowledge matters. Even the demons know of Jesus, but it doesn’t help them one iota. I can swallow a whole book of facts and verses about God, about Jesus, about Holy Spirit, about the things He did. Yet, at the end of the day can I say, I know my God? Or can I only say,"I know of Him”? There’s a huge difference between knowing of God, and knowing God. Just like I can know of a famous person and could say a few facts about them, yet that doesn’t mean I actually know them. A.W Tozer said this, “A man can die of starvation knowing all about bread, and a man can remain spiritually dead while knowing all the historic facts of Christianity.
What would it be like to know God? In two words, here it is: life changing. If my life is not changed when I become a part of Gods family? Then I haven’t yet joined the family. And if I don’t want to change, but am content to live in the old lifestyle, then Jesus is not alive within me. Cause wherever Jesus is? There the kingdom of heaven is evident in signs, in miracles, in wonders.( Acts 2:22, Mark 16:20, Acts 14:3, Hebrews 2:4, 2 Corinthians 12:12). If I’m not changing and growing, from taking baby steps to running? Then I gotta admit, I’m not eating at the family table. That’s where real conversation takes place, that’s where you eat of the Word and grow in grace and strength and in wisdom. I have to absolutely make knowing God a priority. What is the secret that will create in me, create what it needs to raise the standard and make a difference? It is having a relationship with Him.
God calls His kids light of the world, the salt of the earth and leaven(yeast). Have you ever wondered why? All 3 elements transform the atmosphere they are put into. They have an effect on their surroundings. At the flick of a switch, light instantly changes a room from darkness to light. It doesn’t mess around. If light is introduced to an area, it goes forth and transforms, making everything around it as it is. I heard someone recently say, that darkness in our world right now really isn’t the issue. The issue is the light. For where there is light, darkness has to flee. Why aren’t we as the light of the world having an impact? Are we hiding our light under a basket?
Look at salt. It packs a punch doesn’t it? It preserves whatever it is put on or into. It kills bacteria. And it enhances taste. Put it on an icy sidewalk and instantly you notice a difference. Do I preserve the goodness of God in my culture? Do I work to keep that which is good and destroy that which is evil? Do I submit to God, do I resist the devil, the evil? Do I set a standard? Psalms tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good! That is what we are to do as salt. Taste of the Lord, see that He is good, proclaim Him and make Him known. Getting rid of all the bad bacteria and bringing in the flavor of heaven. Salt.
Leaven or yeast is the one I love the most. Jesus compares the kingdom of Heaven to yeast: “It is like something as small as yeast that a woman kneads into a large amount of dough. It works unseen until it permeates the entire batch and rises high.” Luke 13:21 TPT. Yeast. It’s so small, yet it silently goes to work and soon the whole dough is risen. It multiplies whatever it is put into. Can we multiply the kingdom of heaven that is within us? Everywhere we go, just enhancing and multiplying? No matter who you are, how small or insignificant you may deem yourself, you are mighty in the eyes of God. He sees you as yeast, as a powerhouse. You have the ability and the strength to enhance and grow Gods kingdom wherever you are!
The kingdom of God brings about change. That is it’s nature. And God says this kingdom is within us. That’s an amazing gift! I believe that one of the reasons that Jesus gave us the examples of light, salt, and yeast is to show us how much we can accomplish. How much we can impact our world. Gods people raise the standard! They shine light on situations. They speak out against the wrong. They encourage the good. They enhance the atmosphere around them by living according to the Word. They lift up their voices and speak the good news. They believe when everyone else wavers. They stand fast, having put on the full armor of God! We shouldn’t live as though we have no hope! We shouldn’t speak as though there is no Abba Father in heaven. We shouldn’t live in fear and doubt. We shouldn’t be tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea! God is with us! Emmanuel. Emmanuel!
Let us rise up!
Let us be light and shine, for the glory of God is with us!
Let us raise the standard and show the world how wonderful the Kingdom of God is!
Let faith arise! There’s no power like the power of Jesus! No name like the name of Jesus!
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