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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Be at Peace

“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:49,50, NIV)

The landscape of the church has been too often littered with the wrecks of divisions. The church lost its salt — the flavor that attracts the non-Christian.

Jesus used an illustration difficult to understand in the reference to being salted with fire. However, in the preceding verses He talked with His disciples about the fire of hell. We also need the fire of His purging in this life. If we are to truly retain our “salt” for Him, then we must let the fire of His words scorch away impurities in our own lives.

The disciples were in danger of losing their salt. In fact, if you look back over the entire length of Mark 9, you can clearly see the decline of saltiness among the Twelve. There are four main events in the chapter, chronicling four stages in descending from spiritual heights to spiritual depths.

The first stage was revelation (9:2-13). On the Mount of Transfiguration, the inner three disciples had an overpowering revelation of Jesus’ glory. Revelation is the moment when we are overwhelmed in the presence of the majestic Christ, caught up in a powerful spiritual experience beyond what the rational mind can fathom. It’s encountering God in such a way that even language cannot describe the experience, nor can our emotions be articulated.

Revelation is followed by argument (9:14-32). When the disciples were powerless to cast out the demon from the boy, they were reduced to disputing with their opponents. When we don’t have spiritual power, we argue. But our arguments don’t solve the pressing needs of those looking to us for help. Prayerlessness leads to contentiousness.

It gets worse. Argument is followed by arrogance (9:33-37). The disciples broke into a dispute as to who among them was the greatest. Jostling for position tears asunder the peace of community. You cannot love the brother or sister you are trying to climb over or pull down. Periodically, in my town, I hear a church ad that says, “Try us. We are the friendliest church in town.” I’m sure they mean well, but how do they know that? What makes us feel we are better than someone else?

Jesus talked to His arrogant disciples about being a servant and took a little boy into His arms. He essentially said, “You won’t be so narcissistic if you care for the little people. My way is not one of self-fulfillment, but self-denial.”

Finally, the fourth stage in their decline is exclusivity (9:38-50). The disciples, who couldn’t cast out a demon themselves, told others to stop who were succeeding. If it weren’t so serious, it would be funny. They thought they had the exclusive franchise on Jesus. We must avoid narrowness of heart and spirit.

By the end of Mark 9, the disciples were at the low point in their progression to be like Christ. They were in danger of losing their “salt.” But Jesus did not give up on them. They would later find themselves all together in one place, in one accord (Acts 2:1).

By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit is making Jesus real in us so that we too can be salt to a thirsty world.

A prayer of response
Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. May there be saltiness in my life that attracts others to You.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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