Salt Life ... Lost, Part 2
What Jesus said about salt can’t go unnoticed. Matthew 5:13b . . .
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 underfoot.
So how does our ‘salt’ lose its saltiness? How does grace disappear from our lives? How do we end up sullen and sad, forgetting God’s blessings and becoming unloving toward others . . . even our wives and kids?
I see three major temptations . . . three ways we lose it.
We perform – Sometimes we get caught up in doing good and being good. We want to please God (what could possibly be wrong with that?) but the harder we try, the more we think it’s us instead of “Christ living within us.” Since we’re living out Biblical truth, we think we’re invincible. We know the truth, but unfortunately it has enslaved us instead of setting us free as God intended. We become transactional over relational. We judge others we see as less righteous than we are and come across self-righteous through our judgment. The joy is gone from our salvation as we try (and fail) to please God. Grace is nowhere to be found in our lives. The salt has lost its saltiness. It’s no longer good for anything to us. It’s an irrelevant and useless concept.
We’re lazy – The only love that’s real is love that’s demonstrated. Same with grace. Without action, it’s just a concept. Try to give grace to people out of your own ‘well’ and it’ll run dry pretty quick. I find it easier to respond with grace than to initiate. When a guy cuts me off in traffic, I think, “Okay, I’m going to give him grace and not get upset.” (I relax my hand from the salute I was thinking of giving him!) It’s not natural, but I have enough self-control that, most of the time, I can be intentional and respond with grace, giving the ‘unmerited favor’ of no response.
But to give grace . . . you have to initiate. That’s a lot harder. I have to think of the other person and ask, “What does Love require of me right now?” And then follow through with what God leads me to do. Right then and there. It’s inconvenient, disturbs my comfort, takes energy and there’s risk they might not appreciate whatever I do. But taking the time and spending the energy to give an ‘undeserved blessing’ can make a huge difference in someone’s life. You may not discover the impact of your call or note or visit or casserole when you get to Heaven, but it’s there and it’s real . . . God loving them through you!
We forget – We forget where we get grace so we stop giving it. Giving grace requires selflessness and our natural default state is one of self-interest, self-love and self-protection. The only thing that sustains selfless behavior over time is gratitude. Giving grace because the Bible says to, because you’re trying to be obedient or trying to live out WWJD or trying to pay God back for something . . . it just isn’t sustainable. It’s performance-based and we’ll always fail. But living in constant awareness . . . in constant gratitude for Jesus in your life, for your salvation, for His constant presence, for all the gifts He’s given you over your lifetime (regardless of the hardships), for His assurance of “never leaving nor forsaking you,” and for His promise of everlasting life with Him, that’s the ‘well’ from which we can give grace to others.
Prayer – Jesus, we don’t want our salt to lose its savor. We understand that you want us to ‘use it’ not ‘lose it.’ Thank you for an unlimited supply of grace. Give us grateful hearts. You are the good and beautiful God of this life and the next. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Which one of these three temptations is the hardest for you? And what can you do to address it?