‘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 underfoot. ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
A few weeks ago I noticed that I was running out of toothpaste. Now I am quite particular about the toothpaste that I use, my dentist recommended it to me and so I try hard to always get the same one. It helps that I also like the taste and it seems to do quite a good job. Having noticed that I was running low on toothpaste I added it to my shopping list and when I was next doing my shopping I went to buy some. When I got to the shelves where the extensive range of toothpaste is, I searched to find my usual variety, only to find an empty bit of shelf exactly where my toothpaste should have been. This was not great news but there was so many other types of toothpaste available that I thought I would try something different.
I scanned the shelves and saw that a toothpaste that I had seen advertised was on special offer, so I thought that I would try it. How different can toothpaste be after all? A few days later my old tube of toothpaste ran out and so I started my new one. First the colour was different and then there was the taste. It tasted horrible, so bad that I almost spat it out of my mouth it was so unpleasant.
I do not like wasting money, so I decided I would persevere with my new toothpaste and so I continued to use it. Each day I got slightly more used to the unpleasant taste as I got accustomed to it. I am still using the toothpaste, I still do not like the toothpaste but it is not as bad as it was. It is not that the toothpaste has got any better, I’ve just got used to it.
In our Christian lives we must be careful of what we get used to. Sometimes when we see something on the news or hear it on the radio we can be really shocked by how unpleasant or how distasteful it is. But the more that we hear it, the more we can become desensitised to what we have experienced and it does not have the same effect on us as it did. What might have left a really bad taste in our mouth the first time becomes less and less unpleasant the more we get used to it. We are told by Paul in Romans that we are not to conform to the pattern of this world but that we are to be different. Jesus tells us that we are to be the salt of the earth and that we are to be light in a world of darkness; we can only do this if we notice where the darkness is and we try and do something about it.
We ask that we are not conformed to the pattern of this world but that we are transformed by a renewing of our minds so that we can be lights in the darkness.