Word at Work October 4, 2016

Scripture: Mark 9:36-38

In this passage Jesus is training the Twelve and He is about to tell them how salty they really are if they walk accordingly. This passage ends up with a declaration about salt. We know whether or not we are walking on the enemy is determined by whether or not we are preserving our salt covenant. There are things that forfeit the salt covenant and there are things that preserve it. So let’s look to Scripture to find out how to preserve and walk in the covenant of salt. Mark 9:36-38 says, “Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.’ Now John answered Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.’” “Forbade” is the Greek word ko-luo-o and it means, ‘to cut off as in severing a branch from a tree.’ And in this passage, He was telling the Twelve they are not the yardstick. Just because somebody does not work with us does not mean we can cut them off when they are doing the work of the Lord. We have to discern whether a person is walking with the Lord or not. If they are walking with the Lord, we are to bless them, not cut them off. The Twelve had to learn to avoid doing things that forfeit salt, and one of those things is judging inappropriately. If we misjudge people and their motives and we stop their ministry for the wrong reason, we are in trouble with God. We have to accurately discern when we judge, otherwise we can cause damage to people and to the Kingdom. We have to discern who is serving the Lord and who is not, and encourage those who are. Our lives and our spiritual fruit are not the yardstick by which to measure somebody else. We have to get the yardstick directly from the Holy Spirit. We have to expect Him to show us who is serving Him and who is not. There are even gifts of the Spirit that help with that, called ‘Words of Knowledge’ and ‘Discerning of Spirits.’ The Lord is committed to witness to us who belongs to Him and who does not. Part of life is discerning and knowing. And to do that we have to ask for guidance, hear direction from the Lord and make anointed decisions. John, the Apostle of Love, apparently learned about love the hard way. And we cannot be hard on ourselves if we have to learn the hard way as well. The important thing is to be committed to personal growth, so we can be fruitful in the days ahead.

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