I have to admit. I am that guy who salts my food before I even taste it. I realize this is a pretty controversial position that is incredibly divisive in the food world. But to me, if the food tastes good, it will only taste better with a little more sodium chloride.
Apparently, my love of salt is shared by Jesus. So at least in good company. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth. Jesus is not saying that we need to spice up the people around us. In antiquity salt was much more of a preservative than a flavor enhancer due to the lack of refrigeration. Salt was used to keep meat from spoiling.
And so, when Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth He is declaring that we are to act as preserving agents in the world. This assumes that the world is actually decaying. Although the world may think it is progressing through better technology, legislation, and information we see that society tends to move further and further away from God. As Christians in the world our calling is to slow this decay. By acting as a preserving agent we are to provide a positive influence on the culture that helps prevent it from abandoning God.
But how do we do this? The key to this answer is to actually be in the culture. Salt does no good as a preservative if it stays in the container. Christians are not influential to the culture if we never interact with it. Therefore, we must be actually in the culture in order to influence it. And so, as Christians we are called to be involved in our communities and look for opportunities to influence wherever we go.
But our influence is best done through personal relationships. To be sure, there is a place for social media posts about our faith. But people are rarely influenced through media avenues. Real influence comes through relationships. Personal relationships in which dialogue can occur, questions can be asked, and a personal example can be seen and imitated. Therefore, it is important that we look for avenues through which we can personally engage others with the glorious good news of the gospel.
Back in Matthew 5 we also see that Jesus actually does not call us to be salt. He simply states that we are salt. The real question comes to us in the following statement. Jesus declares that if salt has lost its saltiness it is no longer good for anything. The way salt can lose its saltiness, its effectiveness, is by being mixed with impurities. If dirt gets mixed in with your salt, it is very unlikely you are going to use it to season or preserve your food. It is even less likely that you will take the time to pick out every grain of salt. Instead, you will simply throw it away.
When we allow impurities into our lives we greatly damage our ability to be salt to the world. When we say or do things that do not honor God we inhibit our ability to be a preserving agent to the people around us. And so, the challenge that comes to us is not a call to be salt. It is a call to be pure in our saltiness. We are going to influence the people around us no matter what. The question is, is our influence pure?
And so, as you examine your own life what impurities need to be removed? Take some time to ask God to search your heart to reveal areas that do not honor Him. Ask Him for the grace and power to see these impurities removed. And know that a life of purity will result in a more joyful, satisfying, and influential life.