From the teachings Yeshua's Disciple: The Narrow Way - Peacemakers; Persecution; and Salt & Light
Shalom everyone! So as Marcus ends this series, I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate the themes from the last three weeks into this blog entry. It's important that we understand the significance of what Yeshua conveys in Matthew 5 concerning the need for His disciples to be peacemakers, to expect persecution, and embrace our calling to be salt and light in His earth. This entire series was designed to challenge His people to self examine and "adjust fire". I know that many times in the past when I went down a certain path, it was due to the absence of a standard that I embraced and/or a refusal to self reflect. Once I came into the knowledge that my Father in Heaven has a plan for the way He wants His people to conduct themselves, I was faced with the choice of following Him or following my own ways.
Genesis 1:26 - And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..., but when we fast forward to Genesis 5:3, the Scriptures state that Adam's son Seth was made in Adam's image and likeness. Well, we all know what happened in that time period between Adam's creation and his procreation - rebellion. It's a part of the nature of our flesh and to be remade in the likeness of the Creator, we must be born again. We are born in the image of our parents, but when we receive the Spirit, we take on His nature and put down the characteristics of the flesh. Isaiah 55:6-9 - Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. So, what ARE His ways that are higher: YeHoVaH is: Righteous (Ex 9:27); longsuffering, merciful, forgiving (Num 14:18); gracious and slow to anger (Psalm 103:8); and full of compassion (Psalm 111:4). The books of Psalms and Proverbs are just full of wonderful descriptions of how awesome our Elohim is. As a result of being born again as the children of God, we now take on His nature and Yeshua shows us how to walk out what He already revealed to His people long, long, ago. When Yeshua mentioned those that are known by the traits of a peacemaker, He called them blessed and named them children of God; so it's safe to say that if you are the opposite of a peacemaker, you have a different name. I'd go on to say that it's probably not a good, respectable name. A peacemaker is peaceable, which is a person that's not quarrelsome or contentious; free from strife or disorder. In Judges 6:24, Gideon built an alter and called it YeHoVaH is Peace because that's His very nature. Shalom is rest, health, prosperity, happy, friendly, perfect, etc. It shares characteristics with the Greek word for peace used in Matt 5:9 eirenopoios and is also listed as a fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5:22. In contrast to this, if our behavior is one of strife and contention, we have to know that we cannot refer to ourselves as children of YeHoVaH. To do so would be a gross misrepresentation of Him, so we always need to be mindful that we remain in His Spirit and resist any desire the flesh has to exert over us.
This series has been about examining ourselves to make sure we are not deceived into thinking that what we think can be disconnected from what we do. Many of us may THINK we believe in the Most High, but our actions may prove otherwise. If we behave in ways that are described by the Word as contrary to the ways of the Father, we are fooling ourselves if we think that's acceptable. Yeshua said that we should be salt and light and would be persecuted for it (Matt 5). He didn't undergo persecution so that we could sit back and represent darkness while proclaiming "Yeshua is my Lord". He suffered persecution so that we would also know what to look forward to if we chose to follow Him. It's a weeding out process, because many people will refuse to take the heat. Many people desire the unrighteous, unprofitable fellowship of others vs. walking solo; many people are too entangled with the cares of this world to even give suffering for the sake of Messiah serious consideration. This is a hard road to travel and that's why Yeshua said that few are on it (Matt 7:14). Knowing that He made the claim means nothing until we are actually tested and endure the journey on the narrow road.
Yeshua warns us that persecution will come, but He also says that the reward for suffering for Him will be great! The Biblical account shows us what happens to those that were salt and light - Father blessed them, but the world hated and persecuted them. Will it be any different for us? Many of us live in a time of tremendous blessing and freedom, but others are undergoing things far more severe than the typical persecution many go through. People are losing their lives and the lives of their families for proclaiming Messiah and walking righteously. The scale of persecution is definitely variable, but Messiah has already warned us it would come. We all have to consider if we are willing to pay the price for this covenant with our Creator and who knows what that price is for me or you. Father doesn't desire His people to be persecuted; the enemy desires that and the goal is to move us away from the Father and closer to darkness. It is the enemy's desire that your salt loses its flavor. He wants you to be Morton over the more valuable Celtic Sea Salt. For those of you that are confused, Morton's is the popular brand of table salt in the U.S. It's cheap, bleached, and has been stripped of anything beneficial. Celtic Sea Salt is full of essential minerals that are necessary for bodily functions. This is how the enemy wants us; thinking that we are salt when we are really nothing more than a cheap imitation of the real thing. Taking up space on the shelf just to increase sales. We have to strive to properly represent the Kingdom of YeHoVaH in the entirety of our lives by being that valuable, beneficial, life promoting salt. The salt that encourages growth, promotes conductivity, stimulates health, and enhances flavor.
Across the House of Israel family, there is always a push for the people of YeHoVaH to dig down deep and stand in front of the mirror so that we can let Father point out the wrinkles and stains on our shirts so to speak. We have to not only read the Scriptures from a third person perspective, but we must put ourselves in the book because He's talking to US. If you decided to join covenant with Father, you MUST let go of the flesh and all of its ways - daily. To hold onto it is to cling to death because it will pass away with you holding onto it if that's what you desire, but Yeshua came so that you and I can have life to the full and He's not fooled by the Morton Salt on the shelf. We might be fooling ourselves and other people, but Yeshua cannot be conned. While we still have life to live, it's time to get serious and take Him and His commandments seriously. His commandments are not only what was written in a book, but what He's telling you to do today. The good part is that you don't have to do it alone, because He is with you and His people are too. Be Blessed and may YeHoVaH strengthen all of us. Until next time...