Pass the Salt – Part 2
The Enemy’s Tactics
For years, the enemy has had a very simple and effective strategy. He’s told Christians, “You can do anything you want, as long as you stay in the church.” That conveniently leaves the rest of the world to him. Also, in recent years, some areas of society have come to be considered “off limits” for Christians. Somewhere along the way we’ve come to believe that our involvement will tempt us beyond our ability to stick with God – or His ability to keep us.
The following are some critical areas of society in advanced stages of decay: Education, Business, Government, Arts and Media, Science, and the Family. These areas play a major part in influencing the thoughts and attitudes of society – which is exactly why the devil wants them for himself. The enemy, and those playing into his hands, have made some of us afraid to serve God in some of these areas – fearing that if we have anything to do with them, we’ll almost automatically fall prey to greed, power, lust, secular humanism, pride, or immorality. Obviously, those temptations are real, but we’ll face them, and more, no matter where we are.
Life on earth is a battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Even being in Christian service, or the ministry, is no guarantee against falling into sin. The only thing keeping us is our relationship with God. God is faithful and “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13) Being in God’s will and seeking Him continually will give us the strength to obey Him – and to flee temptation by the way of escape He always provides.
We must fear the Lord – but resist the enemy. That means we must resist the enemy’s fear, as well. God has given us gifts to use for His glory and the good of mankind. Living in ungodly fear may cause us to make wrong choices which will deeply affect, and often alter, our dreams, our goals, our ministry, and maybe even our destiny.
A Little Is A Lot
We see in Biblical history how over and over again, God used one choice grain of Holy Salt to make a difference. Esther preserved a whole nation of people by her obedience to God and teamwork with Mordecai. Moses stood in the gap and interceded for God’s rebellious children and God didn’t destroy them. And the lives of 276 people on a ship were spared because of one of God’s obedient servants, our brother Paul.
The world around us is in desperate need because their answers aren’t working. But God has an answer for every possible situation. And His answers work! Admittedly, there are some whose hearts are so hard they’d reject anything having to do with godly principles. Pharaoh is a prime example. However, most people will respond to God’s wisdom when it’s presented in a way they can receive and understand.
We have many opportunities to bring God’s truth into every level of society – even a few grains make a difference. A little salt makes a whole glass of water salty. We’re told a large measure of faith is as big as a mustard seed. And let’s not forget the widow’s mite. What we have to give may not look like a lot to us, but only God can measure the eternal significance of our obedience. A little can mean a lot in God’s kingdom.
To be the salt of the earth we must first view ourselves as representatives of the Lord wherever we are. We’re told in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are Ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors are sent to foreign nations and have the authority to represent the interests of their government, or king, to that foreign land. They do not change citizenship while they’re there but remain citizens of the nation that sent them. Their presence in that country creates a greater understanding between the two nations.
As we represent God’s principles and character in all areas of society, we need to stay loyal to the One who sent us. If we don’t, we lose our authority. Many of us who call ourselves Christians are more influenced by the world than it is by us. We need to stay red hot for God as we attempt to change a world that’s frozen in sin. If we don’t heat up the world, it will cool us down, and the enemy will continue to gain ground in dangerous proportions.
So how do we go about being salt? Fifty years ago, people were ashamed if anyone found out they were sleeping with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Today people are ashamed to admit they’re virgins. Adultery was not generally acceptable, and neither was using drugs, heavy drinking, cheating on your taxes, pornography, abortion, or teenage rebellion. We’re salt when we take a stand for what’s right. Imagine the star quarterback telling his teammates he’s saving himself for marriage. That kind of locker room talk blesses God! Believers everywhere should be speaking out and saying things like, “I’m not going to lie to my mom or my boss or the bill collector. I think abortion is wrong. I don’t take drugs. I won’t cheat my employees or my employer. I’m faithful to my spouse. I don’t lord it over my children. I’ll practice godly principles no matter what everyone else does.”
The first young woman Keith and I took into our home was pressured to lie to the IRS about her weekly tips. Her employer said if she told the truth the other waitresses would look like liars – which of course, they were! He said he’d fire her if she persisted. As a single morn, Cindy needed her job, but she knew what she’d lose by cheating far outweighed her job loss.
We’re often in situations that test our saltiness. Salty Christians won’t compromise under pressure. They won’t be silent when God wants them to speak or take actions, they know are contrary to His principles. And like Esther, they’ll take risks and make bold moves – even in uncharted waters – when God asks them to.
Losing Our Saltiness
In the Middle East, salt is stored in buildings with dirt floors. The salt on the bottom loses its taste if it’s on the ground too long. Once this happens there’s no way to fix it. Then “salt” like this is thrown into the streets as gravel to fill cracks – and so it’s trampled under the feet of men, not to mention the feet of camels, goats, and dogs.
Saltless Christians are easy prey. They not only give the enemy access to their own lives, but to the areas of influence God gave them to faithfully steward. This means the principles God gave them to uphold within their families, jobs, and communities are left unprotected. The Bible says, “Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy one to those who send him.” God Himself has sent us forth with a message for the world. If we’re too lazy to deliver it we’re not only tasteless, we’ve become a source of irritation and grief to the Lord.
Jesus makes it clear that it’s possible for Christians to lose all that makes them different from those they’re trying to make better. Believers everywhere labor to stay unspotted from the world – but there are some whose faith has next to no influence on their general conduct. It doesn’t even keep them from corruption, let alone make them a purifying influence. In this case, Jesus’ words are very severe, “…if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” It’s totally worthless for God and man. Jesus gets even more graphic about the fate of tasteless salt when He says, “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Lk. 14:35) Being useless for the manure pile is about as useless as you can get.
Once actual salt loses its flavor it’s gone forever. But what about us? If we’re meant to salt the world, yet we ourselves need to be salted, is there any hope? If you’ve lost your savor – and that’s a question only you can answer – it’s a very serious situation. Knives that won’t cut, or lamps that won’t light are failing – no matter how good they may look. It’s a heavy thing to be failing your mission for God. If you are, carefully examine your relationship with the Lord and see where you’re falling short – then take the steps necessary to make it right.
I don’t think Jesus intended His metaphor about salt to imply that Christians can’t regain their flavor. If you’ve gone flat, there’s nothing to keep you from going to God in honesty, humility, and repentance. In fact, returning to the Source is your only hope. It’s staying close to Jesus, especially in prayer and the Word, that keeps us salty and out from under the feet of men.
Out of The Shaker
All around us things are decaying – from individual lives to areas of society to whole nations. It’s time for us to get out of our shakers and tell the enemy to shove off! The Lord wants to use us to serve in new ways – for His glory and for the good of the world. I’m not talking about creating some kind of utopia where we have a perfect society. That will only happen when Jesus returns and sets up His government. Only then will every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But as we anxiously await His return, let’s conduct our lives in obedience to His Word.
God is doing new things in our midst – things that may not look like what He’s done in the past. But we need to be a part of this move of God even though it may not look like we expect it to. Let’s pray we don’t miss it, or worse, mock it in unbelief. It’s no accident we’re alive at this time in history. Our generation has a unique destiny to fulfill. We have a window of opportunity before us – a period of time to get God’s heart or miss His purposes. I think the Lord is tired of seeing His people play it safe. Many of us have been tucked away in church for the past 10 to 15 years – growing, getting grounded in the Word, and letting God build our character. We must continue in those things, but it’s time to put it all to practical use.
God is raising up a generation of new leaders and just as Joshua carried on after Moses, God wants to pass the baton on to us. Our sacrificial service to the Lord is what will bring us up to speed, when, like relay runners, we reach for the baton. As the salt of the earth we must purify, heal, preserve, and season. Let’s rise to the occasion and do it with all our heart.
IT IS TIME TO GET OUT OF BOAT AND OUT OF THE SHAKER