Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 1

Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 1: Learn some of the qualities of salt and how you can use these qualities to make a difference in the world around you & in your spheres of influence.

Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 1 of 2

This blog post is dedicated to my students who are being salt and light on their college campuses. 🙂

Be Salt and Light 

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

Each college term I pray to be the kind of person that my students will look at and see something different, somebody that stands out from their normal college professors.  I want them to see Jesus in me, without even knowing that I am a Christian.  I want to be what the bible calls “salt”.

This semester I’ve been so excited because I have a great group of young women and men in my college classes.  It’s really an answered prayer of sorts.  I spent a lot of time in prayer this past summer for the students that I would be teaching.  I prayed for God to place the right students into my classes, the students that I could really help and with whom I could make a difference.  Sometimes as a teacher it’s hard to tell if I’m making a difference or getting through.  From the bottom of my heart I want to speak into their lives and make a lasting impact.  I want to be that “salt” in their lives.

This fall I have some pretty amazing, strong Christians, many of them already possessing some of the qualities of salt.  This is sometimes rare on a public college campus—to have strong Christian students that speak outright about their faith.  I can already tell they are going to do something big someday!  They are going to be powerhouses for the kingdom of God and I feel so honored to play a small role in their lives.  My friend and fellow praying mom, Gwen, pointed out that it’s pretty cool that I get an opportunity to speak into the lives of these students in a different way.  I get a chance to impact their walk with God and their influence on others.  I get to have conversations with them on a different level.  I get an opportunity to teach them and show them how to be salt in action.  It’s like on-the-job training!

I recently had a conversation after class with a few of my students.  A couple of them mentioned that I was the only Christian professor they have (not unusual for a public college).  We had some discussion about classmates, friends and professors who are not Christians.  We talked about it being pointless to argue with people who don’t have the same beliefs we do.  I told them we can sometimes do more harm than good if we try to coerce, force or convince people of our belief (more about that here).  I actually encouraged them NOT to do this for that very reason, even though it’s in our nature to do so.  I told them that it was a hard lesson I had to learn as a student (not to argue)—I tend to be pretty vocal.  Those of you who know me well are probably snickering right now thinking that I just made a massive understatement. 🙂  I’ve learned from experience that it’s actually more effective to live a life of example, to be a role model and to show love.  Whitney George, one of my pastors, said something once at church that has always stuck with me.  He said, “You have to win people to yourself before you can ever win them to the Lord.”  Before you can truly speak into the life of another person you have to have some sort of relationship or rapport there. 

 

So then our first goal must be to win people to us….we must love them first.  Serving and loving on people is the best thing that we can ever do for the kingdom of God.

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)

We discussed that it’s actually more effective to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  We need to teach others about Jesus by our actions.  Let our lifestyle and deeds speak for us.  People should be able to tell we are Christians without us even saying a word.  There should be something different about us.  We should have Jesus’ face shining in ours.  People should see light in our face.  People should like us and not even know why.  We need to follow the instructions of Jesus and be salt and light to the people we come across in our lives.

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT) 

“Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Mark 9:50 (NLT)

In order to be like salt, we need to learn some of the qualities of salt and start putting them to work.

Some Qualities of Salt:

  1. Salt makes you thirsty.

We need to live our lives in such a way that we make others thirsty for what we have.  We need to make them thirst for God.  We should be living a life so full of hope and love, regardless of our circumstances, so much so that people around us will ask us about why and how we can have such hope.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” John 7:37 (NIV) 

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) 

  1. Salt adds seasoning, gives things flavor, and makes things taste good.

Salt is a seasoning.  It’s intended to improve flavor and enhance taste.  We, like salt, should spice up the environment that we’re in.  We should add something beneficial and yummy.  We should improve and add value to whatever we encounter.  We should always leave a place or person better than we found them (read here about how to make people feel taller not smaller).  It’s also important to remember that salt takes balance.  Too much is yuck; too little is bland.  We need to add enough to make a difference but not so much that we overdo it and ruin the relationship and influence we have.  Just like salt can lose its flavor, we can lose our influence.

“Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” Luke 14:34-35 (NLT) 

  1. Salt preserves.

Salt is a preservative to keep things from going bad and corrupt.  We can prevent moral decay and corruption in our world and in the lives of the people around us.  We can make a difference in the world around to preserve goodness.  We need to do our part by preserving God’s commands and ideals—living a right life.  We need to use our voice, vote, and actions when necessary to preserve and protect.  We need to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) against evil.  Preservation takes action and does not sit by idly watching things decay, disintegrate and go bad around us.

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV) 

“… guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” 1 Timothy 6:20 (NIV)

 “The LORD’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, LORD, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation” Psalm 12:6-7 (NLT) 

  1. Salt has the power to change the environment around it.

Salt has chemical properties to change the environment that it’s in.  Have you ever used salt to make homemade ice cream or to melt ice off of a walkway or driveway?  Salt has the ability to change its surroundings.  We also need to use our God-given power, abilities and influence to change our surroundings.  We need to change our environments for the better.  We need to help melt the hardened hearts of unbelievers in our influence.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) 

“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” Titus 2:7 (NLT) 

  1. Salt serves as an electrolyte in our bodies.

An electrolyte is a mineral that conducts electricity.  Our bodies need a balance of salt and other electrolytes to help carry electric impulses to our muscles and nerves in order to help them function properly.  That’s why we often see athletes drinking Gatorade or eating frozen pickle juice to replenish their electrolytes.  Much like salt helps to carry electric impulses through our body, we need to carry the gospel, the Word of God, throughout our communities.  We need to be like Gatorade and replenish what some people have lost in their lives.

“And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”” Romans 10:15 (NLT) 

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT) 

“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Psalm 96:3 (NLT)  

Take Some Practical Steps to Be Salt:

  • First determine where you need to be more like salt…in your workplace, in your school, in your home, in your neighborhood, with your extended family.
  • Be salt…Live your life in such a way that you make others thirsty for what you have. Make others say, “I’ll have whatever he’s/she’s drinking!”
  • Be salt…Add to and improve the lives of people around you. Add value wherever you go.  Don’t overdo it and ruin your influence.  Leave people and places better than you found them.
  • Be salt…Live right and take a stand to preserve Godly ideals. There are times when we must stand against and oppose the moral decay in the world around us and not just sit by and watch it happen.
  • Be salt…Use your influence to change the environment around you. Show acts of love and good works to change the way people think.  Do your best to soften the people around you and to melt icy and hardened hearts.
  • Be salt…Carry the message, word and love of God to the world around you. Be Gatorade and replenish people!

Be sure to read Part 2 to learn about some more qualities of salt and how we can be salt in our spheres of influence.

Which of these qualities of salt do you need to work on?  Leave a comment below (click on the post link to join the conversation if you’re viewing through e-mail) or take the conversation to your favorite social media channel (sharing links below). 

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If you have benefited from this post or if you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward and share this post with them via the sharing links below! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

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