Setting the Temperature; Salting the Potato

The world is loud and noisy. My mind is loud and noisy. The enemy is loud and noisy. God is never described as loud and noisy. His voice thunders, yes; but with power and majesty, not confusion and turmoil.

I have to keep retraining my heart and mind to listen for His voice. I must quieten, be still. John 10:3-4 says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” In verse 27 Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” He speaks and we can know Him. Is that not one of the greatest miracles? We can know Him.

I love that God is such a patient teacher. He’ll gently remind me again and again, until I finally notice that He’s reminding me of the same thing and, that perhaps, I should pay closer attention. Even this weekend, it was the same reminder that I’m not here to adjust to the temperature of the room. I’m here to adjust the temperature of the room. I’m not here to fit in, to reflect what’s already happening, to mold myself to what’s going on. I’m here, bringing the temperature. I’m here, passionate and gracious, because of Jesus, not what’s going on around me.

Therefore it doesn’t matter if the company around me is thrilled to follow Jesus. It doesn’t matter if the people around me are enthusiastic or repentant or captivated with Jesus. It shouldn’t matter if they want the world to dissolve further into sin and chaos or if they want to continue the kingdom mission. I’m not supposed to be adjusting my temperature to them. I’m supposed to let the Holy Spirit set the temperature within me and take that flame wherever I go because He goes with me.

It’s Jesus. The story is always and only about Jesus. And only with my eyes on Jesus and not my own life or the people around me can I be salt and light. If it’s dark, I don’t dim my light. I don’t run because light isn’t scared by darkness. If it’s bland, I don’t hide my salt, keeping it for myself or wondering if maybe other people like their plain potato. I sprinkle that stuff around; after all, nobody wants a plain potato once they’ve had a salted one. Jesus flavors everything.

This outlook forces me to admit that if the room is full of salt and light, I’m not really needed there. I must go where there is darkness. I must go where there is no flavor, no hope, and spread the good news.

We also have to admit that sometimes it’s where we should find flavor and light that it is lacking. Because as Christ followers, it’s easy to start to listen to the noise. It’s easy to forget that we are supposed to be something while we are here. That’s why I can’t depend on someone else to do it. When spirits are down, when times are hard, when people are discouraged, even when I’m all those things, I’m still supposed to be salt and light. I’m still assigned here, to carry that flame within me.

This isn’t just about proclaiming Christ, although everything comes back to my identify as a child of God. This is about doing my best work in school when no one else in class cares. This is about showing up to work to honor God, to work with excellence, even if that means others don’t like me. It means coming to practice ready to work hard, even if everyone else is goofing off. It means mothering with intention, when I’m tired, when everyone else complains, when I’d rather give up. This is about being led by the Spirit and not the atmosphere around me. It’s about being led by the Spirit and my relationship with God affects every tiny detail of my life.

The Holy Spirit sets the temperature. I shouldn’t care one bit what the person across the room thinks of me. I’m not here, adjusting to the temperature. I’m here, salt and light, adjusting the temperature, flavoring the food, lighting the darkness.