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It took my dryer dying for me to look at Matthew 5 differently. 

Let’s back up: a couple of weeks ago, right in the middle of drying most of my work clothes and like, 90% of my socks and underwear (I don’t separate my laundry, don’t judge), my dryer stopped working. Immediately I enlisted the help of two very valuable resources in my life: Dad and YouTube. 

See, I’m the exact target audience for T.E.D talks, how-to videos, and really any sort of “instructional” media. They’re the first things I go to when something isn’t quite clicking for me. And Dad knows everything-so it's always good to have him as backup.

Dad came over and we sat next to the dryer in my cramped laundry room looking through repair videos for my specific machine. Thankfully, there’s a huge community of pro/semi-pro dryer repair people who can fix nearly anything (while speaking really slowly for all us dummies). Thankfully, one such DIY master with a YouTube channel was able to walk us through the repair process step by step. We learned that this little part was a current regulator, and that even though it was a seemingly insignificant piece of plastic, it was crucial to the entire operation of the dryer. Without this little doodad, no dry clothes.

In about an hour, we had the machine up and running. Turns out when you have an expert walking you through the process, stuff is pretty easy. But you have to be willing to open up the machine and poke around to find the part that isn’t working right. 

I’ve pretty much stayed in the “repair and improve” mindset since then, so while reflecting on Matthew 5 for this week’s blog post, I started looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in terms that I better understood: Jesus is the expert walking us through the process of living a good life. 

You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14 

I imagine Jesus breaking down these concepts slowly and patiently to a crowd of people like me: confused, overwhelmed, and looking for answers. For everyone in that crowd, and the readers of Matthew thousands of years later confused about their purpose, Jesus has given the explicit answer: we’re lights to glorify our Father.

You’re reading this on a Christian radio station’s website, so I’m going to assume you’ve had some sort of experience with this passage before, but maybe you’re like me-maybe sometimes you need to check up on the main components in your life when your light gets dim. Everything breaks, and everything needs maintenance. 

Here’s the hard, annoying conclusion I’ve reached: I can have all the expert instruction in the world, but I have to be willing to open myself up and dive into the mess to see what’s keeping my light from shining the way that it should. Sometimes that’s a quick process, sometimes it’s… the exact opposite of that. Either way, it requires work, vulnerability, and a willingness to change things and replace faulty parts so we can serve our main purpose. As I look at my light this week, I invite you to join me and look at yours. They’re on, but are they lighting up the space like they should be? What’s keeping it from doing that? 

We have the instructions and we know what it should look like. Let’s dive in and see what we can do with Jesus.