Last week at our mid week Bible study we began the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. I have read through it so many times and every time the Lord shines a light on where I need to grow in Him. We had a great discussion on Jesus’ call for His disciples to be the salt of the earth. This is not a suggestion. He boldly tells us we ARE the salt of the earth. This is our identity as disciples in the world. So, the question is not will we be salt, but what kind of salt will we be?
The issue is not will we be in the world, the issue is as we are in the world, where we live and work and play, will we be an influence of the Kingdom of God upon the kingdom of this world? Will be flavorful? Will we live in such a way to show the joy of life in Jesus against the bland, fleeting, pleasures this world offers? Will we be salty? I don’t do much cooking, but when salt is missing from a recipe you can definitely tell in the flavor of the food. The dish is just not nearly as enjoyable as it is meant to be. Salt that loses its flavor can no longer perform the function it was created or made to perform so Jesus says it is better it be thrown out and trampled on.
Where this has worked in my own heart through the week and into today is thinking through how to keep our flavor, how to be the church and the Christians we are called to be in the world. We do this by the habits and virtues the Lord forms in us through our daily relationship with Him through His Word and prayer and our daily relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. God’s word, time in prayer, and relationships are the means by which God forms us and molds us. They become our habits and they produce in us virtues or fruits consistent with life in Christ. We are being formed by habits in our lives whether we know it or not. We are being formed by what we read and listen to or watch and whom we spend time with. God created us with wills and minds and hearts that are being formed. The question for us is formed by what or whom? God is the one who forms us and makes us salt. We are formed by His Word, by His presence, and by His people. To be the salt of the earth, full of the flavor of the kingdom, marked by the fruit or virtues of the Spirit, God must form us through our habits and relationships.
One other thought from this passage has stayed with me. Salt subversively flavors the food in which we put it. Too much overpowers the flavor. I think we are called to live in the world humbly and gently. We are to be subversive and influence all around us in the world through sacrifice, love, and courage. We don’t have to beat anyone over the head we just have to be faithful, flavorful. We don’t have to wait for big cultural or political victories. We love where we are planted, we are faithful where we are planted, we serve where we are planted, and little by little we sprinkle flavor in the world around us and others see our joy, our hope, our faith, and our love. Being the salt of the earth opens doors to share the Gospel and to seek the common good. Within being subversive we stand boldly for God’s truth and we call others to repentance, but we do this from humility, respect, and gentleness, always.
You are the salt of the earth Christian. You are either full of flavor and influencing the world around you or you have lost your flavor and are a worthless witness. Which one describes you?