Recently, I have been focusing on suffering. How does the Lord use our suffering for His good and glory? Today, in my Bible reading, I came across a pretty salty verse.
(ESV) Mark 9:50, “Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
There are a few stories chapter 9 of Mark covers, but the current story relates to the disciples disputing among themselves. It was after James, John, and Peter witnessed the transfiguration of Christ. 3 apostles, out of 12, got to experience something very extraordinary. Perhaps, this led up to the dispute.
Jesus called them out for the prideful dispute. In a private area, He answers the burning question they shared, with a sober answer. (ESV) Mark 9:35, “And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Christ then proceeds to discuss how true believers are like children, and He later warns to cast out anything that causes us to sin. It is only after these words that the Lord starts talking about salt.
True believers are to be servants. They are to be ready to serve and willing to not be recognized for what they do. The spotlight on self is not the goal, it’s the spotlight on Christ that is desired. True believers have a trust in the Lord, like a child. The same way a child trusts her parents will take care of her. The love a child has for his parent, that’s the love, the kind of faith we need in God, the Lord Jesus.
Is it easy to have faith all the time? No. We live in a corrupted world, and because we live in a corrupted world there will be pain and suffering. However, the Lord can use pain and suffering for His glory, and for our refinement, our growth. You see, this is what seasoned salt is.
I looked up a few articles on salt making, and I was able to find some on sea salt making. Apparently, 1 gallon of sea salt is equivalent to getting 4 ounces of sea salt. The process relates to either boiling the water until much water has been evaporated or using the sun to dry out the salt. Either way, impurities from the salt must be extracted and the water must be evaporated.
Salt exists, but it must go through a process. Similarly, Christians need to go through a process. We, too, need impurities (sin) to be extracted, or as Christ says, “cut off.” (Mark 9:43)
Putting our faith in Jesus Christ, His atonement sacrifice, and His resurrection is how we receive our justification through His righteousness alone. (Please See: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?) for a more in-depth understanding on why Christ needed to die and resurrect.) But once a follower has decided to follow Christ, the “cutting off” process begins. Often, it is referred to as the sanctification or becoming sanctified process, and this will last until our life on this earth is over. We have been justified by the blood of Christ, and now, we begin to walk a set apart, sanctified life. This comes through a transformation by the Holy Spirit, a daily walk. (See What Is Sanctification by Ligonier Ministries)
(ESV) Mark 9:49, “For everyone will be salted with fire.”
It should be obvious this type of life isn’t one that immediately happens. We put on the new man in Christ, yes, but we also have to, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:02 (ESV) and “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:05 (ESV) (See also: Colossians 3:09-10, Romans 6:04, 2 Corinthians 4:16, and Ephesians 4:23-24)
Becoming like seasoned salt is transforming from self-focused to Christ-focused.
Tell me, before we blame God for something in our life, do we take that thought captive? Do we hold our pain in light of scripture? If the Lord is good, then He is good. We are the ones who need to understand why He is good. We are the ones who lack understanding. We are in need of a process to change us and transform our old way of thinking.
Do we think a walk with God is easy? Do we think we will suddenly be spared from physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual pain, and mental pain?
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14 (ESV)
Salt cannot be seasoned UNTIL the impurities are extracted and the salt has been dried. Flavored salts are most often used for completing a dish, like adding a seasoned salt to fish. Using flavored salt in the beginning of a dish isn’t usually the practice. As you see, there is a whole process that takes place, and it takes several days to several weeks. Then there is an entire, separate, process for preparing a meal, and the salt is one of the last things to apply.
My friend, the Christian walk IS a process from the moment we are justified to the second resurrection. Our old way of life we are to become dead to. We are to be convicted of sinful actions and thoughts we partake of. We are to be humble, and humility often comes when we fall flat on our face. We become forced to see where we place our pride and assurance, and a lot of times we do not have the spotlight on Christ. This is why the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. We need His help in so many ways. (John 16:08)
As Jesus posed the question, how does salt become salty if it loses its flavor (saltiness)? It can’t because it isn’t salt anymore. Pure salt will not expire (as all water has been extracted).
Seasoned salt is salt that has gone through a process, and we are to go through a process as a Christian. No, it won’t be easy. However, the end result will be beautiful and bountiful. Our transformation will be appeasing and pleasant to the Lord and the Church body. The process will help us grow as men and women of Christ. This refinement is difficult, and, yet, so precious and needed every single second of every day. It’s all about loving Him who first loved us, while we were still sinners.
- (ESV) Romans 5:03-05, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
- (ESV) Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way.”
- (ESV) James 1:19-22, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Bingham, N. W. (n.d.). What is Sanctification? Retrieved April 6, 2021, from Ligonier.org website: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-sanctification/
Galloway, D. (2011, November 5). Make your own sea salt. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from Lifehacker website: https://lifehacker.com/make-your-own-sea-salt-5856688
Harvesting pure, local sea salt. (n.d.). Retrieved April 6, 2021, from Carolinacountry.com website: https://www.carolinacountry.com/carolina-stories/harvesting-pure-local-sea-salt
Skrzypiec, M. (2019, September 9). Does salt go bad? Retrieved April 6, 2021, from Doesitgobad.com website: https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-salt-go-bad/
Why would a loving God kill His Son – Please See: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
Scripture To Memorize/Meditate On – (ESV) Romans 5:08, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Community Prayer – April ‘21