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What Does ‘Salt of the Earth’ Mean?

Three traits to help you live a life full of the flavor of God

Salt of the Earth

It was while preaching the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus proclaimed, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). On the simplest level, Christ’s words are about salt as a flavor enhancer. He is telling us that as Christians we are to bring out the flavor of God in the world.

When we are true to being the people God created us to be, when we are true to His calling, we bring out the essence of His goodness and make it more evident to ourselves and to others. When I am the salt of the earth “my soul glorifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46), magnifying His presence so that others can sing, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Yet this requires purity on our part. We cannot be the salt of the earth unless we “draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Hebrews 10:22). We must rid ourselves of all that interferes with our love of God, and follow the command, “Do not love the world or anything in the world” (1 John 2:15).

We must separate out our worldly desires to keep from losing our flavor: The only time salt loses its flavor is when other minerals are mixed in with the sodium chloride. Thus the first step we can take toward being “one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god” (Psalm 24:4) is to examine the elements mixed in with the salt in our lives.

Cultivating these three traits will help make your life a little “saltier.”

1. Transparent.
The person who is truly salty is one through whom the light of Christ can shine easily and about whom Jesus would say, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:47). We can pray, Lord, help me rid my heart of all guile.

2. Trustworthy.
The person worth his salt is one who has followed the command to “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Peter 2:1). We can pray, Christ, open my eyes to the envy and hypocrisy of my heart, and keep my lips from unkind words.

3. Encouraging to others.
To be the salt of the earth means to see in others what Christ sees in them. “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11). We can pray, Jesus, help me be an example of all that you want us all to be, in word and deed.

Why not begin this very day to live a life full of the flavor of God, so that through us others can “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)?

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