Once again the verse in question is Matthew 5:13, but today I’d also like to add its counterparts, Luke 14:34-35 and Mark 9:50. If you’ve been reading my previous thoughts, you know I have discussed how Christians are supposed to point people toward God and we do that by living lives set apart from this world. This final post will ponder what happens when Christians find themselves feeling a little less than salty.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” Matthew 5:13
“Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” Luke 14:34-35
Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Mark 9:50
Less Than Salty
If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all find times in our lives when we are less than salty. These are our less-than-proud moments when our actions and words don’t point back to Jesus. For me, these moments happen when I let myself get a little too bothered by what people think about me. Someone will say something that strikes me as a bit abrasive or look at me in an odd way and I’ll just snap back with a sarcastic or angry statement. I feel guilty immediately but for me asking for forgiveness is sometimes harder than getting a cat to bark. Without even trying I’ve finished two actions that are less than salty; not only did I snap back at what could have been an innocent comment or glance but I also failed to show humility. While one situation like this probably doesn’t mean that I have lost my saltiness entirely, it was one opportunity where I could have pointed someone toward God. If I’m not careful those instances pile up quickly and I lose track of what I’m really here on Earth to do.
So what do we do when we’re feeling less than salty? Something must be done because Matthew bluntly reminds us that flavorless salt should be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Luke gets a bit harsher and says that flavorless salt isn’t even useful in the manure pile and should be quickly thrown out. Yikes! We better get our act together.
Mark mentions the qualities of salt which I think can most easily be summed up by looking at the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:22-26
Firstly, when we find ourselves feeling less than salty, we should plead with the spirit to renew in us these gifts given so that we can be salt to the world. Thankfully, these are not attributes we have to produce within ourselves because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us toward these gifts. All we need a heart willing to be molded. We must give our desires over to Jesus and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As this set of verses finishes, we are reminded to be humble, kind toward one another, and not jealous. These are tall orders but thankfully there is Someone who can help us in these endeavors.
Secondly, Mark tells us to live in peace with one another. In Romans 5, Paul gives a few hints as to how to live at peace with one another. He says to “be honest in your evaluation of yourselves” (12:3) meaning that we should realize that as individuals we have faults. I equate this evaluation with humility. Pride would be thinking that your way is always the best way, so humility realizes that your way could be wrong. Paul also tells us to “really love one another” rather than just pretending to love each other (12:9). This may be harder at some times than others. Somewhere I have read or heard that when working with someone, always assume that the person has the best intentions. Many of our conflicts come about when we assume that someone else is out to get us. Not only is this prideful but also malicious. Many times these conflicts could be avoided if we assumed that the person’s intentions are honorable until they prove to be dishonorable. Finally Paul says to let God handle the revenge (12:14-21). Our response to injustice should be to bless those who persecute us and remember that God is in charge of delivering discipline and justice.
Can we be made salty again? I think so. The Bible gives many examples where someone falls prey to human desires and sins but God forgives that person and draws him/her back into the fold.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9
Thank God for his mercy. Now go be salty!