You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Everyone loves salty food! Potato chips, French fries (anything fried, right?), pizza, pretzels, and the list of yummy foods could go on forever… But doctors and dieticians tell us not to eat too many salty foods because they’re bad for our health. And they say we should check the amount of sodium on food labels. But more important than the amount of sodium in our diet is the amount of salt in our spiritual life. Even though we may not sprinkle salt liberally on our food it should be sprinkled on our hearts abundantly. Our spiritual health and the spiritual health of those around us depends on this kind of salt, even if our diet doesn’t.
We’ve all heard that Christians are to be “salt and light”. But what did Jesus mean when He said that we are “the salt of the earth”? And how can we apply that to our day to day lives.
To fully grasp what Jesus meant when He spoke these words, we need to understand the purpose of salt in Bible times and what salt symbolizes to us now in a modern world today. So, let’s look at some of the keys elements of salt together…
#1 Salt is Stable
Salt is a very stable substance. The molecules of sodium chloride form an ionic bond that is very strong. In the same way, salt symbolizes the strength of our stability in Jesus. Our faith is firmly bound together in the tangible, real truth of the Living Christ. This stable foundation we have in Him is as factual as the science of salt molecules.
#2 Salt is Life Sustaining
Salt is essential for life. Our physical bodies need a small amount of salt every day. Without the trace amount of minerals and electrolytes in it we will die. But spiritually, we must have an overflowing amount of salt. For ourselves, so that our spirit will flourish in this life and the next. And to season the lives of the people around us with the salt of God’s wisdom and love, so that they can have this life sustaining nutrient too.
#3 Salt creates Thirst
Each of us is born with a spiritual thirst inside of us. It starts out as a longing or a feeling of being parched but not knowing why. The longer this thirst goes on, the bigger it becomes. Until one day it’s full on dehydration that quickly becomes an undeniable need and must be filled right now.
Movie theatres put a lot of salt on popcorn to make us thirsty so they can upsell us a giant soft drink. As Christians, we don’t want to “sell” anyone our faith. We just want them to know who Jesus really is and to understand that our life is different from theirs because of Him. So our goal is to sprinkle our spiritual salt around in a way that allows the world to see Jesus and become thirsty for what He offers. The “secret” Christians have is simple. We know that Jesus is the only One who has the power to quench the spiritual thirst inside each of us.
#4 Salt Preserves
God created our bodies with a need to eat. And with that need comes another, preserving food for future consumption. Since God created us, it’s no wonder that He also gave us a natural way to preserve our food with salt. But modern technology has replaced our need to preserve food naturally. Now that we have refrigerators, chemicals and 24 hour grocery stores we’ve conveniently forgotten how to salt meat and can vegetables. But salt has been used as a food preservative for centuries.
This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said that we are “the salt of the earth”. As Christians we understand that Jesus is the only One who can truly preserve life. And we know He took our place on the cross and became the life preserving salt that we desperately needed Him to be.
But because of what Jesus has done for us, it is our responsibility to be the salt for others. Not that we can preserve their life, we know we can’t. But we can point the way to Jesus, the Preserver of life!
#5 Salt can lose its flavor
When salt loses its flavor, it also loses its purpose and becomes useless. The common practice in Jesus’s day was to throw tasteless salt out onto the street where it would be trampled on by people and animals.
Sometimes we lose our saltiness as believers. We don’t intend to, it just happens. We get caught up in our mundane daily routines, go through crisis after crisis or get hurt by another church member. Little by little we lose our taste for salvation. The incredible joy we once felt diminishes and we find ourselves just going through the motions. Then, one day we wake up and realize we’ve lost our purpose too. We’ve become ineffective Christians, something we never wanted to be. But unlike salt, that cannot regain its flavor once it is gone, we don’t have to remain stuck in this pattern of joyless, tasteless being. We can turn to Jesus and regain the purpose and zest for salvation we once had! And we can once again be useful and productive for the kingdom of God!
Jesus has called us to be “the salt of the earth”. Because, when we share our faith, we are giving the unsaved world all of the redeeming qualities of salt. We are showing them the stabile foundation we already have in Christ. And the thirst quenching, life sustaining, preserving power that they can have in Jesus too. Together, may we season the life of an unsaved person with the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ each and every day!
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Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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