I like sweet stuff, don’t you? Given a choice, I’ll choose a candy bar over a bag of potato chips any day. Most people seem to like sugary snacks. That’s what keeps dentists in business. To be sure, most Americans get plenty of salt in their diet. Just this week, an FDA committee suggested that Americans get too much salt. The government also thinks that we take in too much sugar. Rampant obesity among people in industrialized nations seems to confirm that fact. I’m going to suggest that we need more salt in the world.
“You are the salt of the earth…” so says Jesus in the sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:13. Jesus is speaking to his disciples with that statement. That means that you and I need to be salt in the world. But what does that look like in daily life? What should a disciple do to honor Jesus’ statement?
The world likes sugar. Be salt.
Salt and sugar stand in contrast to one another. The world consumes sugared philosophies. For example, the world teaches us to be tolerant of everyone else even when their pattern of life is grossly sinful. LGBTQ+ is the touchstone of tolerance. The world tells us that greed and pride are good things and that we should pursue both. Marriage is no longer honored in the sight of the world because today, marriage is simply a temporary state until one or both parties become tired of the relationship. Not only must we tolerate these sugary philosophies, but we must also actively approve of them. The world is awash in sugar.
But you, Christian, must be the counter to sugar. You are the salt.
When John the Baptist told King Herod that he had no right to his brother’s wife, he was being salt. He was applying biblical teaching in a corrupt culture. He did the right thing, but it cost him his life (Matthew 14:1-12).
Jesus publicly taught that the Jews should pay taxes to Rome even though the Jews despised the Roman government (Luke 20:19-26). Even among Jesus’ own apostles, there were violent opponents of Rome. Yet, Jesus spoke truth. He was salt. Of course, we know that Jesus was crucified because of his teachings.
A careful study of 1 Corinthians will demonstrate that Paul frequently spoke against the culture. He was especially troubled by how the culture of the day had seeped into the church in Corinth. Paul was salt.
While the world likes to be comfortable with its sugary ideas, the responsibility of a follower of Jesus is to apply salt wherever and whenever possible. Be warned: culture will oppose you.
Apply salt carefully.
Have you ever gotten a bite of something that was too salty? Maybe the cook got a little carried away with the salt shaker and major food inedible. We must be very careful and very deliberate in how we apply salt to our world.
- Remember who you represent — you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Paul described us as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Therefore, we represent Jesus to the world.
- Speak the truth, but do it in love — for someone not accustomed to biblical truth, the things you say may be difficult for them to hear. Our message must be thoroughly saturated in love (Ephesians 4:15).
- Forget about self; forget about winning arguments – we are not called to win arguments. In fact, we are not even called to be argumentative. Our task is to sow truth (Matthew 13:1 – 9; 18 – 23).
- If you become angry, pause and take a breath — otherwise, you may say something you regret. There are some people with whom it is impossible to have a civil discussion. They are not interested in finding truth; instead, they seek to provoke and to make themselves look superior.
- Make sure that you are truly speaking truth — otherwise, your words will come back to haunt you. Always consider the source of any information you find. Remember, media outlets have an agenda that is likely reflected in their reporting. If you are going to enter the fray, make sure you are well equipped.
God’s word gives you an unlimited supply of salt. Spread it liberally and deliberately. Make sure that in all cases, you uplift Christ to the world. Jesus is called us to be His representatives on the earth. Let us do a worthy job.