Be Still Know
READ: Matthew 5.13 NLT
‘You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.’
I have often heard people say that they are happy for individuals to have a Christian faith so long as it’s a private matter. Jesus’ words here prove that there is no way in which a Christian can keep their faith private. It can’t be done because those who live close to God will be fundamentally affected by their faith and this will inevitably exhibit itself in the way they conduct themselves. Like salt their influence will have an impact on all those who come into contact with them.
Salt is very different from the foods that it accompanies. It is useful and tasty precisely because it is different. So too as Christians we are encouraged to be different from the society in which we live. Our morality and standards are not shaped by our society but by God and so it should never be a surprise when we stand out from the people around us. The apostle Paul was very clear about the need for this when he addressed the small group of Christians in Rome. The pressures upon them must have been immense but he urges them not to “copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (Romans 12.2)
One of the key characteristics of salt is that it is a preservative. With refrigeration we are hardly aware of this function of salt, but until recent history it was of crucial importance. Jesus calls on his followers to get deeply involved in the life of society in order to uphold high standards. The worst of all worlds is when salt becomes contaminated and loses its distinctive taste. Churches, similarly, need to beware of fitting in with society so closely that they have nothing distinctive and godly to share.
It is high praise when someone is described as “the salt of the earth” and we should all long to live so close to God that we are able to share his distinctive flavour with the people around us.
QUESTIONS: In what way are you able to be salt in your community?
PRAYER: Lord God, help me to live so close to you that your loving, gracious influence touches those around me. Amen
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