Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Don't Lose Your Flavor!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness … it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” — Matthew 5:13

I heard about a man who was walking through a county fair when he met a little girl who was carrying a gigantic fluff of cotton candy on a stick. It was almost as big as she was! He asked her, "How can a little girl like you eat all that cotton candy?" She looked up at him and said, "Well, I'm really much bigger on the inside than I am on the outside."

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, here’s a truth that Jesus doesn’t want you to miss: While the world focuses on making you bigger on the outside, Jesus focuses on making you bigger on the inside. When Jesus preached the greatest sermon of all time, the Sermon on the Mount, he was aiming the sermon at his followers—those who had already chosen to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And he started off with the eight Beatitudes to show us what our character should look like in Christ’s Kingdom: humble, repentant, self-controlled, hungry for God, merciful, sincere peace makers.

But what Jesus teaches us immediately after the Beatitudes is just as important. In a nutshell, Jesus says, “There is a reason I’ve called you to live this way. It all comes down to influence.” The passage right after the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:13, is ALL ABOUT INFLUENCE. Jesus tells us, “I order you to influence those around you! You are the salt of the earth!” In Christ’s own words: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” What on earth does he mean?

Well, salt brings out flavor, and it creates thirst. But there is another use of salt that is more likely what Jesus had in mind that day.

Salt purifies. In the ancient world, raw salt was considered to be one of the purest elements on earth, and therefore came to symbolize purity. That’s one of the main reasons God instructed the Jewish priests to use it in their religious ceremonies and sacrifices. As Christ’s followers, we are to purify this corrupt world through our example of righteous character and by leading people to Jesus, who can cleanse them from unrighteousness. If you and I are living righteous lives but not leading people to Jesus Christ, our righteousness won’t do our family and friends any good. They’ll still die in their sins. On the other hand, if we try to lead people to Jesus, but we ourselves are just as corrupt as the people around us, unbelievers will say, “No, thank you! If that’s what following Jesus looks like, count me out!”

Notice that Jesus says, “If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” People in Jesus’ day knew exactly what he was talking about. The Jewish people quarried most of their salt from the Dead Sea valley, where there is plenty of salt. But there’s one problem: Much of the salt is contaminated with sand and gypsum and chemicals. Strictly speaking, the salt itself is not less salty than other salt. But mixed with all the other junk, it loses its potency. And when that happened in Jesus’ day, people would just toss it out on the roads as a cheap weed killer that people could stomp on.

Followers of Christ are a salt that purifies. We are called to remain pure in a corrupt world. And our purity should influence the corrupt world around us. We mustn’t let the corrupt world influence us the way sand and gypsum dilutes the flavor of salt. People have a bad habit of lowering their moral standards over time. Cultures around the world tend to lower their sexual standards, their standards for marriage and divorce, and their moral standards for music, TV programs and movies. But Christians are called to maintain the highest level of pure moral standards in a polluted culture that constantly wants us to drop them. So, in all likelihood, Jesus has purity in mind as he tells us that we are the salt of the earth.

You and I should have a purifying effect everywhere we go. Your home should be less corrupt because you’re there. Your workplace should be less corrupt because you’re there. Your school, your neighborhood and even your church should be less corrupt because you’re there.

And if they aren’t then something is terribly wrong, because pure salt always has an influence. Pure salt always makes a difference. So, if you are a follower of Christ but you’re not having a positive impact in your corner of the world, there are only two possible explanations: 1) Either you’ve become contaminated, or 2) you’re hiding in the salt shaker. Either way, you need to knock it off!

Bible scholar William Barclay wrote: “If the Christian is to be the salt of the earth, he must have a certain antiseptic influence on life…. The Christian must be the cleansing antiseptic in any society in which he happens to be; he must be the person who by his presence defeats corruption and makes it easier for others to be good.”

Salt purifies. So, Jesus calls you and me to have a purifying influence in our world. Remember, “You are the salt of the earth!”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

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