Mark 9 v 43 - 50

It is true that everyone needs something in their life that they are willing to die for: it could be children, spouse, football team, or faith that inspires you to heights or something else, but it must be SOMETHING! We are blessed because, if we are committed followers of Jesus, then we are prepared to give up our lives for someone who deserves everything we can give and this is what Jesus is stating here. To do the will of God is the supreme commitment and brings the greatest reward: ''The pure in spirit shall see God!''

Some ancient Church leaders took this to mean that a church may need to excise those who were causing it to become impure. You may recall Paul's challenge to the church in Corinth to expel the man who was sleeping with his mother-in-law? 1 Corinthians 5 v 1. This could be as true today as it was then as I hear of many fellowships struggling against the malign influence of someone in a leadership role.

However, Jesus clearly meant it to be a personal challenge and it may be that you or I must excise certain habits around what we do, watch or hear. It may be something very dear to us which has always appeared quite innocent which is brought up by the Spirit as something which must be discarded in order to enjoy a closer walk with Jesus. Think of the self-sacrifice of athletes and their reward is far smaller and less lasting than what has been promised those who live for Christ!

Another saying of Jesus concerning salt is added by Mark here. The amazing thing about these sayings is that they stuck in the mind, although it might take some working through about what Jesus meant. When Jesus stated that everyone must be salted with fire He is referring to the law of sacrifices in Leviticus and particularly 2 v 13. Jesus is saying that every Christian life must be tested with fire before it is acceptable to God. What does this mean?

1. Fire is connected with purification. Fire gets rid of impurities and so the life which has been cleansed and purified by the discipline of Christian obedience and acceptance that God is our guide and our Lord is the acceptable way.

2. Fire is connected with destruction. A Christian man in India once told me that the normal Christian life was one of persecution and we in the West were missing out on God's greatest blessings because we were not enduring persecution!

Salt is necessary to flavour and preserve and we are called to bring light and joy to the world with the message of Good News!

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