In our communications with other people, are we being led of the flesh or of the Spirit, or is it sometimes one and sometimes the other? Or, can we be speaking in the power of the Spirit, and then can we switch gears, and speak out of our flesh? How do we know if it is one or the other? What are the determining factors to reveal if our conversations are fleshly and self-driven or if they are of the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, and are Spirit-driven?
The Lord Jesus led me to read Colossians 4:2-6 (ESV; BLB).
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. V. 2 (ESV)
Before we decide to speak out, especially publicly, or to write anything on any particular subject, especially with regard to God’s Word and what we believe it teaches us, we must bathe it in prayer, seeking God’s face, asking for the Spirit to guide us into all truth. Then we should ask for our Lord to put his words in our minds so that it will be his words that come out through our mouths and through our finger tips (in writing).
But, in our prayers, we must be watchful to make certain we are hearing God’s voice clearly, and that we are not being influenced by our traditions, prejudices, religious upbringing, and denominational stances, etc. We must go into God’s Word with fresh minds, receptive hearts, and willing spirits to hear God speak HIS truths to our hearts. We must be willing, too, to lay aside all hindrances which might keep us from hearing God clearly.
We must also be watchful that we don’t let our own flesh enter into our prayers or keep us from hearing the Lord clearly on any subject matter which he may want to address in our lives or in the life of the church. If our hearts are filled with pride, rage, unforgiveness, bitterness, self-righteousness, or justification for willful and continued sins against God, these will be hindrances to our prayers and to hearing God’s voice rightly.
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Vv. 3-4 (ESV)
I believe we should pray for divine opportunities to share the love of Christ with others, and for openings in our conversations with people to share about his grace and mercy to us, which was provided for us by him dying on a cross for our sins, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
Also, we should pray for ourselves and for one another that, when we do share the Word with others, that we would have clarity of mind, purpose, heart, wisdom and speech, so that others can hear what we are saying, and so they can receive and apply those truths to their own hearts and lives.
Yet, this is not to say that, just because we are filled with the Spirit, have bathed what we are about to say in prayer, have received the truth from God which we are to communicate, and even if we have done so with clarity, that all will receive what we have to share, and that some will not oppose us. Not everyone received Jesus’ sermons with acceptance, though some did, but he had many who fought against his words, too.
But, this is also not to say that, even if our hearts are in the right place, and even if we have prayed, and even if what we are speaking is truth, and we are being led of the Spirit, that we will always communicate what we know is truth with complete clarity or without prejudice or in, perhaps, the best way possible. This is because we are still human beings, and because, hopefully, we are still learning and growing in this area, and, thus, we still need work.
Walk in wisdom toward those outside, redeeming the time. V. 5 (BLB)
Our walk is our lifestyle. It is how we live, think, are, speak and do, day in and day out. It is our attitudes, our prejudices, our values and our behaviors. It is the ultimate summation of who we are, what we are about, and of how we are living our lives, either by the Spirit or by the flesh, or perhaps a mixture of both, over a period of time. What shines out?
Wisdom, to me, is applied knowledge. We can know something in our heads, but unless it gets down deep into our hearts, and we actually do what we know, then it is just information, for it has no bearing on how we live. So, to walk in wisdom is to not just look in the mirror and see who we are, but it is to follow through with God regarding what he revealed to us when we looked in that mirror, and then to do what God has instructed us in his Word that we must do. This may mean to repent of sin, forgive someone, apologize to someone, correct wrong thinking, or do a kind deed for someone, etc.
Although we should be living like this all the time, specifically here we are instructed to live like this toward outsiders, i.e. towards those who are not of the faith. And, this has to do with redeeming the time. Could it be here, that the time we are to redeem is for their lives, to buy it back for them, in a sense, by sharing with them the gospel of our salvation? But, not just in words, but by exemplifying to them how that is to be lived out in our lives?
Let your speech be always in grace, having been seasoned with salt, to know how it behooves you to answer each one. V. 6 (BLB)
What is grace? Grace is kindness. It is favor toward someone. And, it is for their benefit, i.e. it is considering what is best for them, to meet their legitimate needs. It is Jesus Christ freely giving himself up for us on a cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, which is what we need. And, it is us giving ourselves to others to meet in them what they really need, too, being willing to sacrifice our very lives for their freedom in Christ.
Grace is not telling people what they want to hear, and what will make them feel good about themselves in their sins. Grace does not placate or entertain sin, nor does it lie to people or dilute the truth so as not to offend others. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. And, this is the kind of grace we should demonstrate to others, too, but with gentleness and with respect.
Regarding salt, from a spiritual perspective, since salt is used as a preservative to slow decay, salt is thus an element we add in our conversations with people to help preserve their lives from corruption and destruction; and from the evils of our society. “Salty” words should be pure (virtuous) and wholesome, and that which can be penetrating to the heart, as they should have God’s unique individual characteristic within them. In other words, they should reveal his divine character.
Salt creates a thirst, so the goal of our conversations with people (in speech or in writing) should be to create within them a thirst for God and for his word. Too much salt can ruin food, and too much salt can also ruin the effectiveness of our conversations. In the same respect, no salt or little salt can make spiritual food bland and tasteless, rendering it ineffective in penetrating to the heart and in preserving lives from sin’s deceitfulness.
So, our conversations with others, and especially our presentations of the gospel, must have both elements of God’s grace and his justice, speaking the truth in love to others so that they can be rescued from darkness and brought into God’s wonderful light, and so that they can see the error of their ways and turn to the Lord or back to him in full surrender and obedience.
Sometimes these conversations will call for more grace and less salt, and other times they will call for more salt and less grace, depending upon the circumstances. This is modeled for us in Jesus’ and the apostles’ interactions and conversations with the people in the world, and with people of faith. Yet, in our communications with others, we should always keep in mind to say what is necessary, proper, or advantageous for them with regards to their salvation and their eternal life with God.
Lord, Move Me
An Original Work / October 16, 2011
Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.
Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.
Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.
Monday, December 25, 2017, 8:33 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching on grace and salt. I pray you will continue to grow me in this area, in learning better and more productive ways of communicating your love and grace with the world around me.