Salt & Grace

I just passed the 23rd anniversary of my new life and one truth becomes more and more obvious to me as the years pass…

My pride is a master shapeshifter.

As I’ve grown from a baby Christian, God has weeded out blatant arrogance. But in its place softer and deadlier variations sprout—finding fault, desire to be liked, defensiveness. And those are only a few. My pride conceals itself behind a more tenable mask to avoid prying its claws from my character.

All that to say, I still have major issues within this process of sanctification. So when my friend texted to check in on a specific sticky situation, my hurt pride put on its mask and answered, “I’ll call and tell you what happened.”

But life happens, and despite stereotypes, adult women never seem to have time to talk. So with a—I’m on a deadline, I’ll call you later—we let it drop.

I didn’t think about it again until I woke up the following morning with a verse clearly on my mind. Colossians 4:6. To be transparent this isn’t a verse I’ve ever paid significant attention to. I’ve never memorized it. To the best of my recollection, I’ve never read a Bible study on it or heard a sermon about it. So when I woke with it foremost on my mind, I paid attention.

Grace & Salt

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6 

Though I had yet to make that phone call, I could be honest enough with myself to admit there probably wasn’t going to be as much grace in my conversation as there needed to be. I started asking myself, if I picked up the phone, would my speech be seasoned with salt.

What is the big deal with salt anyway? And what in the world does this verse even mean? It’s not the first time this concept of saltiness comes up. Jesus himself tells us we are to be the salt of the earth. Ergo, if I’m salt—my words will be should be salty.

If I'm the salt of the earth, my words should be salty. #christianliving #biblestudy Click To Tweet

What is Salt?

It made the ancient world go round. The word salary itself comes from salt. Salt is a preservative. It’s an essential element in our diet. A good portion of its ancient use was similar to today—flavoring and preserving food. It was also used for medicinal purposes. An interesting observation about salt is that salt creates thirst.

Another verse that touches on the importance of our speech being filled with grace is Ephesians 4:29. Paul wrote, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

As we speak and respond to each other, we are held to account to only speak what is right for the needs of the conversation. Talk about being intentional.

Earlier in this chapter of Ephesians Paul wrote, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 

Jesus himself said that the world would know we are his disciples by our love for one another. Paul is showing us how to walk that out in our conversation. Humility + gentleness + patience + tolerance = peace. Paul urges us to do our salty duty—preserve unity in the bond of peace.

Humility + gentleness + patience + tolerance = peace. #biblestudy #christianlife Click To Tweet

Ephesians 4:3 reminds me of Romans 12:18. However in Romans, Paul adds a further dimension to our saltiness, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

As far as it depends on me.

  • As far as it depends on me, I don’t have to let a rotting situation putrefy further. I can throw salt on it—preserving the relationship while the Holy Spirit works.
  • As far as it depends on me, I can keep and protect another’s reputation, throwing the salt of love into a conversation to preserve their dignity. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
  • As far as it depends on me, I can choose to submit to Jesus by being what he says I am—salty. He spared no punches in Matthew 5:13. He said we’re the salt of the earth and if we’re not salty, then what good are we?

At the end of Ephesians 4, Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Remembering how Christ forgave our inward rot can help us turn that same forgiveness outward while we make every word salty. We can preserve relationships, heal wounds, flavor life, and drive people to the Living Water.

Are we worth our salt?

As the salt of the earth, let us preserve relationships, heal wounds, flavor life, and drive people to the Living Water. #biblestudy #christianlife Click To Tweet

21 thoughts on “Salt & Grace”

  1. As it depends on me…is a great phrase to meditate on. How much of what I do and say depends on my willingness to submit to my flesh or to God?

    You make great points in your post, Stephanie. The one point that really hit me and one I have to constantly work on is” “I don’t have to let a rotting situation putrefy further. I can throw salt on it—preserving the relationship while the Holy Spirit works.” When someone hurts me, it can be difficult to get over it and not let the rot continue to rot my inward heart. Relationships are important to God, and likewise, the person needs love…as the word says, love covers a multitude of sins. Thank you for the challenge in this post!

    1. Those are wise words, Marcie. Relationships are important to God and the person needs love. It’s so hard to see past our hurt to those most important truths. My pastor says we judge others by their actions while judging ourselves by our intentions. I wonder if we switched that around if it would become a bit easier? Thank you for your insights.

  2. Stephanie – such an insightful and honest post. I really appreciated your comments around “as long as it depends on me…” So often we look around and blame others, denying our contributions and responsibilities. And when we focus on others – we will be less likely to see the rot within ourselves. We can not begin to initiate change unless we do. And as you write – when we own our stuff we can then throw salt on the sin and the rot – working and praying towards our own healing and redemption and preserve our precious relationship with God.

    1. As long as it depends on me is a powerful thought, isn’t it, Anne? I feel as though it is transferring the power of action from the one hurting us (which is where our victim selves would want to see the power) to the One who lives inside of us as we submit. It’s a hard thought but as you point out, the hard work of praying towards our own healing and redemption will strengthen our most important relationship–the one with God. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Being salt is a work in progress for me. God has talked to me about my language and conversation with others. I’m so glad you reinforced a word He has been giving me lately.

  4. When we study salt, we learn that our bodies cannot live without it. So our being salt to the world keeps others alive forever with Jesus. As long as it depends on me…. great thought starter.

  5. I love the “as far as it depends on me.” Because it doesn’t let us off the hook of doing all we can to have peace, but it sets us free from thinking it’s all on our shoulders. Wonderful truth here!

  6. Best article and thoughts on Colossians 4:6 ever, Stephanie! What resonated the most with me is…”He said we’re the salt of the earth and if we’re not salty, then what good are we?” Yep…spared no punches is right! And I like how you said we are urged to do our salty duty. 🙂

    “As far it depends on me” in living at peace with others is sometimes a hard pill to shallow. Love all your examples of what that looks like in real life.

    1. Karen, thank you for your encouragement because in full transparency that line “if we’re not salty, then what good are we?” was extremely hard to write. I thought about pulling it several times. I appreciate your words!

  7. This is SO good Stephanie! I too have woken up with a verse on my mind that could only have come from God, and a conviction of what my desires for interacting with others was, versus what God wanted me to do. What a gift it is, that God gives us His Word to reveal what He wants us to do. I only hope I can be good about obeying His Words and not just ‘getting on’ with ‘my’ day. Those words, “As far as it depends on me” are 7 of the most challenging words in scripture when it comes to relationships with others. It takes others out of the equation and reminds us that we are only in control of our own actions, and we are responsible to God for them. Thank you!

  8. Stephanie, this was deeply thought and spirit-provoking. Thank you for uncovering the layers that are involved as we grow in Christlikeness. It is a slow and painful process as the Lord shows us more about ourselves that needs more of Him. I have always known about some of the qualities of salt – flavoring, preserving and healing. However, I had never considered how it creates thirst. Wow. May my words bring about all of these things in those with whom I connect! Bless you and your ministry!

  9. I’ve been thinking about this lately. I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve matured since high school. When I was young I was a jerk. I loved arguing and “proving” others wrong. Then in college I mellowed and chose not to engage others. Now I look at myself in the mirror and I’m concerned I’m not as sharp as I once was. I feel like I lost my edge. But what I’ve gained seems so much more valuable.
    Humility + gentleness + patience + tolerance = peace. This is critical for me. I wasn’t a peacemaker when I was young. Sure I was zealous. But I didn’t win anyone over. Peacemakers are blessed not lawyers.

    1. I like that, Chip. “Peacemakers are blessed not lawyers.” I was just thinking about how confident I was in what I believed (ie that my opinions were right) and now I’m more open to exploring where I’m wrong. It’s not as comfortable on this side but you’re right, it is more valuable.

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