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Vol.  10  No. 2 February 2008  Page 8
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Priscilla's Page By Marilyn LaStrape *Editor's Note*

Marilyn LaStrape

How Salty Are We as Christians?

By Marilyn LaStrape

    Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “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 under foot by men.” Salt has purifying, preserving and antiseptic qualities. In the Lord’s teaching, it is symbolic of that spiritual health and vigor essential to Christian virtue and purity that counteracts the corruption that is in the world.

    How “salty” are we as Christians? Do our lives reflect our Lord with those purifying, preserving, antiseptic or cleansing qualities? How “salty” are our hearts, our speech, our example and our influence?

    How “salty” is our heart? Our heart reveals what goes on in the core of our being, the source from which everything flows. Solomon said, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a). We are the products of the way we think. In speaking to the Pharisees on one of many occasions, Jesus said, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

    God’s Word is the only power that can save and transform us, but the orientation of our hearts is a human choice. We not only have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, but we must also change the source of our thinking. “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11).

    How “salty” is our speech? We use words to comfort, to praise, to encourage, to calm, to explain, to apologize. Unfortunately we also use words to brag, to complain, to threaten, to lie, to deceive, to gossip just to name a few. Of the many things that we do and can do with words, Paul tells us to do something very specific: “Let your speech always be with grace seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). Notice that he says our speech is to be seasoned with salt.

    Psalm 19:14 says; “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer.” That Scripture is easy to read and easy to understand. As we think back over what we have said to people in the last 24 hours, have we been practicing the dictates of this verse? It does not do any good to know what the verse says, or be able to quote it, or even to know where it is found, if we are not obeying it! Our words and actions must match! We must be walking the walk and talking the talk!

    How “salty” is our example? After Jesus had washed the apostles’ feet, He told them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15).

    What was Jesus teaching them? It was a lesson in service to other people. In the judgment scene of Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus speaks of service to other people. He said when He was hungry, we fed Him; when He was thirsty, we gave Him something to drink; when He was a stranger, we took Him in; when He was naked, we clothed Him; when He was sick, we visited Him; when He was in prison, we came to Him. He concludes by saying when we as His followers did all of these things to the least of His brethren, we did them to Him! These are acts that exemplify our “saltiness”!

    How “salty” is our influence? When our “saltiness” has lost its flavor of influence, there has been a breakdown in our walk, or our talk, or both. When this breakdown occurs, our influence to those in the world can be severely damaged or destroyed! Some people in the world live in the most ungodly ways, and unfortunately some of us who wear the name “Christian” are living the same way.

    We are now living in a world where sin has been given new names. The person one is living with, but not married to, is now called the “significant other” or the “partner.” Stealing and cheating in all of its forms is now called “creative bookkeeping.” Lying and cursing is now called “freedom of speech.” Indecent dress is now called “being scantily clad.” Fornication and adultery is now called “having an affair” or “an open marriage.” Incest and sodomy is now called “illicit sex.” Homosexuals are now called “gays” and “lesbians.” Disobedience and disrespect for parents is now called “exercising one’s rights.” Sadly, the new names for sin are virtually endless!

    We as faithful, submissive, obedient Christians recognize all such behavior and practices as violations of God’s will for those whose lives are to glorify Him. We as Christians must guard against these and hundreds of other worldly practices. “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who has been born of God guards himself, and the wicked one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). In Romans 12:2, Paul pleads with us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

    Are we as Christians as “salty” as Scripture dictates in our marital relationships? Do we as Christians understand that having children outside of the marriage bond is sinful and wrong (1 Corinthians 7:1-2)? As Christians, do we believe and understand that all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8)? Have we as Christians embraced the eternal truth that those who practice the works of the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)? Do we know that we are epistles known and read of all men (2 Corinthians 2:1-3)? Do we as Christians realize we lose our “saltiness” and the Word of God is blasphemed when we behave just like people in the world (Titus 2:3-5)?

    After giving very stern warnings about who could end up in hell, Jesus told His disciples, “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another” (Mark 9:49-50). How “salty” are we as Christians?

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