“Can flavorless food be eaten without salt?” Job 6:6a NKJV
Welcome to this edition of the Return of the King – a series of articles written with the prayer and hope that it helps us understand and commit to the true Christian life as we live in a state of preparedness awaiting the return of the Lord. In this edition, I hope to stir us up to live a manner of life that inspires others to embrace and live for Christ.
In Job 6:6a, the question is asked if flavorless food can be eaten without salt. I believe that for most of us (except where we have made health choices on consumption of salt) the answer will be an emphatic NO.
So, what is this flavorless food? And what is the salt?
In this article, flavorless food is used in the context of the true Christian life and salt is used in reference to the genuine believer whom Jesus calls the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Put together, the question would then be – can we inspire non-Christians and young believers to embrace the true Christian life without the flavor only a genuine believer can bring to it?
The true Christian life for the unbelieving (and even for the believer depending on the level of spiritual maturity) can be flavorless and unappealing. For many, a faith that demands you deny self and carry a cross as a way to true discipleship (Matthew 16:24); one that strengthens its disciples by saying that they must ‘… through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22); one that teaches you to turn the other cheek to anyone who slaps you on one cheek (Luke 6:29) can only be rightly perceived by many as flavorless. Who will find such a life attractive and who will with all joy, sign up for a lifetime of such?
Apostle Paul describes his Christian life in these words:
“But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10
As flavorless as some of these might seem, they are inescapable godly pathways to successful living and the doorway to eternal life. The question is how can we, who are the salt of the earth, bring flavor to such a life as is described above that many are inspired to embrace and live it?
It is natural to be inspired by a lifestyle of success and accomplishments. But we know that these are not the only hallmarks of true Christian life. Inclusive in it are the days of trials, of testing and proving of faith, days and seasons when God seems far away, years of enduring the pain of waiting on the LORD; seasons of infirmities and of lack, seasons of pain and betrayals; seasons of discouragement and sorrow; seasons of afflictions and ‘chains’. How then can our lives, in spite of the painful seasons, inspire others to accept Christ and to walk the narrow Way He invites us all to walk in?
A study of Philippians 1:12-14 is an apt example of how our lives can be the salt that inspires many to embrace and live a seemingly flavorless life. In this passage, Apostle Paul writes:
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
How can a man’s imprisonment advance the gospel? How can many wax confident by a man’s chains? How can the affliction of a saint inspire many to speak boldly without fear of the same things that led to his incarceration? I believe that despite the chains and imprisonment, something about him brought flavor to the otherwise unpleasant example of the pains and trials of a surrendered life.
I will share a few of what I believe are the hallmarks of his life and character – things I believe can make us the salt that brings flavour to an otherwise seemingly unpleasant life:
The burden of inspiring men to embrace and live for the LORD rests on us (Matthew 5:16) after all, Jesus calls us the salt of the earth. We must commit to live in such a way that our very lives become the flavor that inspires others to accept Jesus and to truly live for Him.
If we claim to be His and continue in sin – in lying, envy, unforgiveness, sexual immorality, slander, hatred and the works of the flesh, we lose our flavor and effectiveness.
Father we pray that You will give us the vision and the divine power to live for You; we ask that You make us the true salt of the earth, that You preserve us that we never lose our flavor. Father we pray that You will make us and the lives that we live to be the flavor that inspires multitude to embrace You and our Lord Jesus. Amen.