Essential Influence

Did you know you have an essential influence? We understand what an essential worker is due to the Covid era we live in. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you have an essential role to play in our society. If ever there was a time that the Church needs to step up and be the Church, it is now! You are essential!

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus teaches that believers are like Salt and Light in the world around us. Here is the Northbrook Sermon link on this text. But in this article I want to focus in specifically on the role of salt and what that looks like in the spiritual sense.

What does it mean for a person to be like salt in the world? I want to pull out some practical applications from Jesus’s word picture.

As Salt in this world I see three aspects we should keep in mind.

  1. Salt Preserves:  Believers stand against the moral and spiritual decay that invades our world because of the curse of sin. In our families, communities, society, and even globally, followers of Jesus preserve what it good through our actions, words, and choices. Think of how most hospitals and schools were founded by Christians. Why is that? We bring with us a care for society that extends to the hurting and marginalized. Being the Salt of the earth means to help others, preserve goodness, and leading away from sinful self-destructive paths. 
  2. Salt Seasons:  Believers bring life, and as Jesus said in John 10:10, he came to give life to the full! Sadly many people feel that Church steals away the joy of life. This is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Being created in the image of God release us to build, create, imagine and engage life from a godly perspective. We are free to seek His glory in new and innovative ways. That is why Christians in the past were always the cutting edge of art and science. It was the glory of God that drove them. Today we need to reclaim our role as the Salt of the earth and bring the seasoning of life and truth with us. 
  3. Salt can be diluted:  Jesus warns if salt loses its saltiness is worthless. How does this happen? The basic elemental construction of Salt, (NaCl, sodium cloride) cannot be changed without becoming a new element. So what is Jesus talking about? Salt “loses its saltiness” when it is intermingled with other substances. The impact of the salt is reduced as it becomes more mixed. This happens on the spiritual level as well. Can a believer become so distracted by the worldly things that they lose their influence, yes. It happens all to often. Even good things can become distractions, but especially the temptations of our world are numerous and can ruin someone’s influence. The list of discredited pastors is to discouraging to review. But Jesus wasn’t teaching to pastors, he was teaching to every Christian. Make sure your actions and words don’t negate the Salty influence you should have. 

Go out and be Salty today! You are an essential influence because you are the Salt of the earth!

Saturdays with C.S. Lewis: Salt & Light

But you must not imagine that the new men are, in the ordinary sense, all alike. A good deal of what I have been saying in this last book might make you suppose that that was bound to be so. To become new men means losing what we now call ‘ourselves’. Out of our selves, into Christ, we must go. His will is to become ours and we are to think His thoughts, to ‘have the mind of Christ’ as the Bible says. And if Christ is one, and if He is thus to be ‘in’ us all, shall we not be exactly the same? It certainly sounds like it; but in fact it is not so.
It is difficult here to get a good illustration; because, of course, no other two things are related to each other just as the Creator is related to one of His creatures. But I will try two very imperfect illustrations which may give a hint of the truth. Imagine a lot of people who have always lived in the dark. You come and try to describe to them what light is like. You might tell them that if they come into the light that same light would fall on them all and they would all reflect it and thus become what we call visible. Is it not quite possible that they would imagine that, since they were all receiving the same light, and all reacting to it in the same way (i.e. all reflecting it), they would all look alike? Whereas you and I know that the light will in fact bring out, or show up, how different they are.Salt & Light

Or again, suppose a person who knew nothing about salt. You give him a pinch to taste and he experiences a particular strong, sharp taste. You then tell him that in your country people use salt in all their cookery. Might he not reply ‘In that case I suppose all your dishes taste exactly the same: because the taste of that stuff you have just given me is so strong that it will kill the taste of everything else.’ But you and I know that the real effect of salt is exactly the opposite. So far from killing the taste of the egg and the tripe and the cabbage, it actually brings it out. They do not show their real taste till you have added the salt. (Of course, as I warned you, this is not really a very good illustration, because you can, after all, kill the other tastes by putting in too much salt, whereas you cannot kill the taste of a human personality by putting in too much Christ. I am doing the best I can.)
It is something like that with Christ and us. The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of ‘little Christs’, all different, will still be too few to express Him fully.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 223-225.