Friday, January 4, 2013

Salt or Debris

Salt or Debris?

Salt is prized, and has many good qualities. It is used to preserve food, to make food tasty, to freeze homemade ice cream, to melt ice from roads and sidewalks, and many other uses. During Bible times, salt was often collected from evaporated sea water or mined from salt deposits. Salt in Judea likely came from salt mines in the dead sea valley. Such raw salt often contained other minerals, which would be left when the salt was used up. So when the salt was gone, what was left was worthless debris to be cast upon the ground.

Jesus used salt to describe the good qualities He desires in His disciples. He wanted disciples to have such qualities as would be a blessing to others. The disciple’s good qualities result from the influence of Jesus in his or her life. Jesus said, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 14:33-35, NKJ)

Giving up selfishness and following Jesus makes us of value to God and to people. Following Jesus is not a one time thing. We must not lose our usefulness by turning back to the world, but continue to be a blessing to others because of our faith in Jesus. The value of salt is in its saltiness, and the value of a life is in its goodness.

Luke records these words of Jesus, "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 9:50, NKJ) Here Jesus makes a connection between salt and peace. We are to be peaceful in order to be a blessing to others. Anger and fighting do not glorify the name of Jesus, and do not build up our lives. Malice and anger should be cast our of our lives, because they are debris, not salt.

Grace is compared with salt by Paul, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col 4:6, NKJ) Grace means to receive good things we do not deserve. Therefore speech seasoned with grace is speech that builds up rather than tears down. Speech that edifies, speech that is kind and gentle. Not based on what the person we speak to deserves, but based on the influence of God in our hearts. Many people practice hateful speech, and  often the entertainment offered today glorifies vulgar and offensive speech. Such speech is debris, useful only for throwing away. It has no value, but is waste. We need to practice godly speech, for God hears and judges every word we speak.

The grace of God in our lives is like salt; it preserves and makes good. Lives devoid of God’s influence are like debris, fit only for rejection and being cast away. Apostle Paul wrote of the role of God’s Spirit in making us to have graceful lives, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:22-25, NKJ)

Are our lives like salt or debris? What is your plan for being a blessing to others? God can make us a blessing if we trust Him for eternal life in Jesus Christ. Otherwise a person is waste, and will be cast out.

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