"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, September 27, 2013

* PLEASE PASS THE SALT

Matthew 5:13 (NIV 1984) "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."


The usefulness of salt in the first-century is similiar for us in the twenty-first century.  This commonly used mineral is used to preserve foods and enhance its flavor.  But, it cannot accomplish this without penetrating what it contacts.  When it is effectively used it will make any taste buds dance as it bring out the deliciousness of meat, fruit and other various foods.  

Jesus teaches that His followers are the salt of the earth.  Just as salt serves a purpose, so should we. The world should immediately recognize they are in the presence of God's salt.   Like salt, we should strive to preserve what is good.  We should be distinguishable and leave a noticeable impact on every thing we come in contact with.  Christ's imprint in us should undoubtedly impress Him upon others.

But, what good is salt if it never leaves the shaker?  A Christian's life should naturally season its surroundings with God's truth and love.  We can try so hard to not be contaminated by the world that we never leave the saltshaker.  The decay in our world reveals its desperate need for the salt of Christ to penetrate its ungodliness.  This is why our example is so crucial.   

Sadly, the opposite is also true.  

Christ followers can allow themselves to be so influenced by the world that they resemble the world more than they reflect Christ.  The world we inhabit is saturated by secular ideas, unbiblical philosophies, humanistic, hedonistic teachings etc.  If we succumb to these ideologies then our faith is diluted.  If we fail to expose these lies, the truth of Christ is not protected and the Gospel is not preserved.  Instead of believers penetrating the culture, the culture penetrates Christians.  The resulting unsaltiness makes us useless to influence the society in which we live.
  
  •  "I know the Bible says Christians shouldn't get drunk, but it's just a little get-together in the privacy of my home."  
  • "I know God teaches sex before marriage is wrong, but hey, I've already been married once before.  It doesn't really matter this time."  
  • "I may believe in God but it's not for everyone.  Aren't they still a good enough person?" 
  • "I know God hates divorce, but He'll still forgive me." 
  • "I know I should teach my children about God, but I don't want to be pushy.  They can just grow up and decide for themselves what they believe."

What's interesting, is that those who take a firm stand for righteousness are often viewed by other Christians as "taking their faith too seriously," as if we're not supposed to.  They too, are often the ones who excuse any public or vocal declaration of their faith, preferring to be a 'closet-Christian.'  Is there really such a thing?

There came a point in my life when I had to decide if I was going to unlock that closet.  I had to choose if I was truly willing to wear the name of Christ unashamedly and live a life worthy of Him or continue in my tendencies to acquiesce around certain people and circumstances.  Even still, there are times I will encounter situations that force me to squirm or reaffirm my allegiance.  We all face these types of predicaments daily.  Our choices will reflect the degree of our love and level of commitment to our Lord.

Followers of Christ are to remain salty, leave the saltshaker and avoid becoming unsalty.  Listening to Sunday's sermon won't be enough to spiritually prepare us for what we may encounter during the week.  The salt metaphor does not allow for complacency or isolation.  Remaining grounded in the truth of God's Word fortifies our faith and foundation, which impacts our ability to discern worldly deceptions, uphold biblical standards and effectively influence others for Christ.
Our saltiness, or lack thereof, is witnessed daily.  If we claim Christ, our lives need to parallel the attitudes and actions of Who we profess.  When people are really impacted by Christ, they are changed.  Changed for life.  Changed for good.  Changed by His blood, to be the salt of the earth.   

Let there be no doubt what flavor others taste in you.  Please pass the salt.


Heart Work:
Read through the beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12) and evaluate the qualities Jesus desires for those who know Him.  This passage leads right up to our key verse, thirteen.

Write one specific way for each beatitude that you can put into practice this week. Then, pray through your list and acknowledge to God your yearning to exemplify salt for Him.

For example, vs. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." Lord, even though __________ really hurt me and I want to retaliate, please help me, by the power of your Spirit to extend mercy to them as you have done to me.  Help me respond by forgiving them in order to be your salt.

Write down three people God has brought into your life that need the salt of Jesus sprinkled on them.  Get to shakin'!

Heart Exam:
How well do you represent salt?

What taste do you leave in other people's mouths?

When have you taken Jesus' teachings with a grain of salt?

What should visibly distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian?

Heart Transforming Word:
Matthew 5:13 (The Message) " 'Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?  You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.' "

Acts 1:8 (NIV 1984) "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

1 John 2:6 "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."




Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.