Does Your Salt Have Flavor?
Does Your Salt Have Flavor?
By: Jessica Jones
Throughout the history of the church, believers have struggled to live out their faith. Every generation has had its own unique challenges, whether living in the first-century Roman Empire and enduring persecution at the hands of both religious and political leaders or dealing with destructive teachings within the faith.
In a world that is increasingly hostile to the Gospel and Christianity, where truth is becoming more and more subjective, and where Christians seem to be more divided than ever, it can be very challenging to know how to live for the Lord. And yet, we are called to represent Him and the good news of the Gospel to the world.
So, how do we go about representing our God to the world? How do we demonstrate the Gospel in our lives? And why is this so important?
Ambassadors for Christ
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul explains that we as followers of Christ are ambassadors for His kingdom, and our task is to give the message of reconciliation with God to the world.
With our call to represent God and His Gospel to the world comes the important responsibility of demonstrating His love and reconciliation to the people around us. This means that we must reflect Him in our lives, through our attitudes, words, and actions.
It means that the way we treat our families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and the people we encounter throughout our lives matters significantly and has eternal ramifications.
The problem is that we often do the opposite. All too frequently, we act in selfish, harsh, critical and even unforgiving ways. And in so doing, we show the world that Christ’s kingdom is tasteless and reconciliation with Him is simply a waste of their time. Why follow Jesus if nothing about their lives will change? What would be the benefit of becoming a Christ-follower if everything remains the same?
So, how do we live in such a way that we demonstrate the beauty and wonder of the Gospel? How can we keep ourselves from portraying the kingdom of God as if it were tasteless?
Salt and Light
Salt, as we know, is an essential ingredient in almost all dishes. Salt can enhance flavor, making the other spices and the taste of the vegetables or meat come to life. It also has the capacity to preserve food and is used to cure ham and other meats. Without salt, our food would be boring and tasteless, not to mention spoil more quickly.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus uses salt as an illustration of the importance of His followers’ influence on the world:
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men” (WEB).
Just as salt is essential for bringing out the flavor of our food, so our spiritual growth and the way we live our lives is essential for the world to know the One who has come to bring them eternal life. It is our righteousness, or “saltiness,” which influences the world for the better. And not only is it an influence on the world but it is absolutely essential - having eternal significance as we tell the world through our actions and words Who Jesus is and Why they should Follow Him.
But Jesus doesn’t end the illustration there, He goes on to describe what would happen if the “salt” lost its saltiness. It would be deemed “good for nothing” and thrown out. In other words, if our lives lose their “saltiness,” then we will no longer be of use as representatives of God’s kingdom. Our words and actions mean nothing if we aren’t submitted to the Lord and acting as true representatives of Him.
In the following verses, Jesus then goes on to use the imagery of “light” to illustrate his next point - that we should be living in such a way that the world can see Him through us.
“You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do you light a lamp and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. Even so, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16, WEB).
Our lives should boldly display the Gospel so that there can be no mistaking WHO we serve. He has, after all, revealed His great love for us in the most blatant way possible - by publicly sacrificing Himself in our place.
To do anything less than stepping out and fearlessly showing His love to the world would be to reveal that we are in some way ashamed of Him. How could we be ashamed of the incredible loving Savior we serve, the One who ransomed us, and the One in whom we find our hope?
How could we be ashamed of the One who has come to redeem the world?
Our love and faith should shine so bright that we become like Paul, who said:
“For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, because it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16 WEB)!
But what does this look like? How do we display the Gospel? How do we go about representing Christ’s kingdom to the world?
Bearing Fruit that Lasts
Titus 3:14 ties into Jesus’ statement in Matthew by saying:
“Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful” (WEB).
Ultimately, our goal should be to produce fruit as followers of Christ. And that fruit is of good works. As Paul mentions in Ephesians 2, we have been created to do good works, works that God Himself has ordained for us to do.
How do we cultivate good works in our lives?
A tree cannot produce healthy fruit unless it has been nurtured well.
Our top priority in being ambassadors for Christ’s kingdom must be to know Him, to know His Word, to know His call on our life, and to know His character. The best way to do that is to spend time with Him, reading His Word and prayerfully dwelling on its truths, listening to what He has to say to us.
It is by spending time with Him that our lives begin to look more like Him. We take on His thoughts, His character, His attitude. When His Word fills our minds and hearts, it transforms us from the inside out.
We become more patient with increased kindness, we become more able to exercise self-control, we become full of grace and mercy, and we become more forgiving. The fruit of the Spirit becomes evident in our lives.
We begin to see people in the same way God sees them. The way we treat them begins to reflect Him more.
And the people around us take notice. They see the difference our faith makes. They see that life in Christ is not at all tasteless but is life-transforming. They see that living a righteous life is something worth pursuing, that following Jesus will change them.
A transformed life is a powerful testimony of the work of God in a person’s life. That transformation begins in us as we allow Him to work in us and we step out in faith to live out our call to be ambassadors of His kingdom allowing Him to start working through us.
It is in living a reconciled life to God that we most poignantly preach of His desire to be reconciled with all people and demonstrate what it means to be made right with Him. So, let’s pursue righteousness, and endeavor to do the good works that God has called us to do. Let’s live as true ambassadors of Christ’s kingdom, proclaiming His message of reconciliation to the world. Let's chose to be the "salt" that seasons the whole Earth.