TITLE: PASS THE SALT PLEASE


INTRODUCTION

As often happens, the Holy Spirit will use many different means to speak to us about something very specific. You may have a discussion with a Christian friend about a topic. The next thing you know your spouse or another friend brings up the same subject. Then on Sunday the Pastor touches on the exact same issue in his sermon (or you hear about it on a Christian radio station, or you read it in a devotional, or …). This has happened to me numerous times. Each time I am amazed (don't I have a long way to go?). Well, recently this happened with ‘salt and light’. I touched on light last week. So this week it will be salt.

Salt is amazing. It has been used for many different purposes over the centuries. And more and more uses for salt continue to be found (just do a Google search on ‘uses for salt’). However, I have decided to focus on seven key aspects of salt.

1. Salt is essential for human (animal) life. Each cell in our body contains salt and there is nearly one cup of salt in each adult person. One key purpose of salt in our bodies is to maintain a balance of our fluids (fluids that carry oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our bodies). Without salt we die. And too much salt will kill us.

2. Salt is used as a medicine. A dentist will tell you to rinse your mouth with warm salt water. A doctor will recommend a salt water gargle for a sore throat. You soak sore muscles in warm salt water. Salt can be used to soothe a bee sting.

3. Salt preserves (slows decay). In past times (and now) meat was packed in salt to keep it from spoiling.

4. Salt is a spice. Tasted alone, salt is really not very pleasant. However, when put on meat, or potatoes, or other foods, salt really adds to or brings out the flavor of what you put it on.

5. Too much salt in the body creates thirst. Have you every tried eating a pile of french fries covered in salt without having a drink?

6. Salt lowers the freezing point of water. That is why salt is applied to icy/snowy roads and walkways. The salt effectively melts the ice because the freezing point of the water is lowered when salt is applied to it.

7. When put on a wound, salt really stings.

Although I am often troubled by the degree of what I consider to be over-analysis of parables or statements found in the Bible, please bear with me as I expand on the relevance of the seven properties of salt listed above in relation to our Christian lives in the fallen world. I wish I could take credit for all these ideas, but only two of them are ‘new’ to me. The others are pulled from recently heard sermons or devotions I have read. However, I pray that the Holy Spirit will use me to present these all in an original manner that sheds new light on your path.


SCRIPTURE

Focus Verse: Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour; wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Additional Verses: Leviticus 2:13, Mark 9:49-50, Luke 14:34-35


DISCUSSION

In the Old Testament salt was used with the meat offering to symbolize the covenant between God and Abraham and all the people of Israel. The use of salt showed the faithful obedience to the contract between those offering the sacrifice and God. In all three New Testament scriptures listed above, Christ refers to uselessness of salt if it looses its taste. So, since we are the salt of the earth, let’s discuss how useless we become in a fallen world if we lose the seven properties of salt I listed in the Introduction.

1. Salt is essential for human life. When we are converted and filled with the Holy Spirit, we become usable tools for God to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through our witness (how we live our lives, direct evangelizing, etc.). We are an essential element in the spread of the Gospel. Therefore we help bring life to the lost. If we do not allow ourselves to be used by God for this purpose, we become very useless indeed.

2. Salt is a medicine. We are saved through faith by God’s grace, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, as James teaches us, faith without works is dead (James 2:20). Therefore, once we are saved, our works demonstrate the genuineness of our conversion. Through our good works, we can bring healing, happiness and bright light into a very dark world. We can work as a medicine to ease suffering. However, without good works, we are like an expired medicine: good for nothing.

3. Salt is a preservative. We live in a dying world. One day, this world will pass away and be replaced by a new one. However, before that happens, God is demonstrating His patience so that the gospel message can be preached around the world (Matthew 28:19-20), not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). We help to preserve this dying world by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us. Subtly different than number 1 above (where we are essential for life), here we are preventing decay. If we don’t follow God’s will for our life, we are not helping prevent the decay of life on earth.

4. Salt adds flavor. Imagine a world without Christians. A world completely lost to sin. No inspirational stories to be told about acts of selflessness. No expectation of safety or salvation. No light in a dark world that would consume itself. The goodness of God shining through us brings light and hope into this world. We spice things up by showing what a difference Christ can make in a life. When we submit to the freedom of obedience, we add flavor to a drab world. If not, why should we still be here?

5. Salt creates thirst. Living as a mature Christian, the unsaved should long for what they see in you (the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)). Our lives should create a thirst in the unbeliever for salvation and the peace that can only be found in the divine certainty of eternal life in Heaven praising God. If we are not creating this thirst in others, are we useful at all?

6. Salt melts ice. How sad to a Christian is the hardened heart the lost has towards Christ. The sermon we preach everyday by the way we live our lives can have a warming effect on even the coldest heart. Submit completely to God and His will for your life. Melt the heart of someone you love today. If you aren’t melting hearts by your witness, you may be helping to freeze them.

7. Salt stings in a cut. I am sure you have heard the expression, “That burns like salt on an open wound!” In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs us not to conform to this world. Therefore, our lives should ‘stick out’ or sting as distinctly different from the lives of those living ‘in the world’ around us. Are you conforming, fitting in; or do you sting this domain that Satan rules temporarily?

Be salt in this world. Make a difference for Christ.

PRAYER

Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that this devotional is pleasing and honoring to You. May the illustrations presented here prick the heart of the unbeliever and inspire the spirit of Your saints. My only hope is to be fully submitted to You and Your will, living a life that is pleasing to You. I thank You Father for the countless blessings You continue to bring to my life. I love You above all else. Amen.