Daniel Fast Day 19

Salty in the Best Way Possible

Paul the apostle writes to the church at Colossae and like a master craftsman, he forms a beautiful product that is usable for God’s glory. He starts with Jesus so that we can see the pattern of how we should fashion our lives. He reminds us that there is no authority greater than Christ’s authority. Everything must fit within the framework of Jesus and ultimately, everything will come into order. He shows us the depravity of our old nature and the behaviors that go with it. He reminds us that we can take it off like a piece of dirty clothing and discard it. He encourages us to begin thinking in a Heavenly way, not an earth bound one. We are not left naked but he tells us about the beautiful, perfectly fitting, and brand new clothes that are available to us through Christ. We change our spiritual clothes, we put on the garment of love for all situations, the shoes of peace, and we check our language making sure we speak the kind of words that build up, not cut down.

Before we go out anywhere, we show our brand new Jesus garments to our families. Husbands show wives, wives show husbands, children show parents and dads don’t frustrate their children by confusing messages. Our families see us looking like Jesus before anyone else. Then, “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go…”. This fruitful, Christ-like way of life goes into the marketplace and displays Jesus to everyone. Same job, but a different person with a new attitude of gratitude and awareness of Who the real Boss is. Our work is not a separate part of our lives but rather becomes part of our worship and a mission that we are on. Then Paul writes this: Colossians 4:5-6(VOICE) “Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. When you speak the word, speak it gracefully (as if seasoned with salt), so you will know how to respond to everyone rightly.”

We now display this new wardrobe to everyone, especially those who are not believers. We use wisdom and are gracious and kind meaning, we are salty in the best possible way. Notice it is up to us to make the best use of every opportunity when we are with someone outside of the faith community. We must treat every encounter as an opportunity to sow the seeds of the message of Christ. Always remember, people buy into you before they buy into any message. I know people can be antagonistic and flat out hateful, but we cannot overcome the spirit of the world with the same natural responses. We need God’s supernatural wisdom and grace to flow through us to others, regardless of how they may act toward us. Lost people matter to God; therefore, they must matter to us. We must become passionate about populating Heaven and plundering Hell. John 3:16(NCV) “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.

God loves people. He made every human being on this planet and we all carry His image. You will never meet a person that God does not love, and Jesus did not die for. We are entrusted by Jesus to carry out His mission of seeking and saving the lost. Luke 19:10(NLT) “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

The reason we are supposed to look like Him, act like Him, speak like Him, and even smell like Him is so that those who do not know Him, might see Him through us and be attracted to Christ. We are on display so others may see the possibilities of a changed life. 2 Corinthians 2:14(HCSB) “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” We are on display. We are in God’s shop window and He, through us, is showing the world what a life in Christ looks like. Our changed lives are God’s aroma to the world. I love my wife; I simply adore her. There are many things I love about her. One of them is that she’s the best smelling lady on the planet. I have been blessed with a great sense of smell or cursed if you live with a bunch of smelly teenage boys. Nevertheless, when my wife puts on her perfume, I am like Pepé Le Pew. I can’t help myself; she becomes even more irresistible to me. When we have Christ’s fragrance, we become irresistible to those who desire to be saved.

We are God’s fragrance to the world and we diffuse Christ’s scent everywhere we go. It’s a fragrance both to those who are being saved and to the unsaved. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16a(TLB) “As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us. To those who are not being saved, we seem a fearful smell of death and doom, while to those who know Christ we are a life-giving perfume.” It becomes even more crucial when we understand what is at stake. People’s eternities are at stake, so we cannot become neglectful, fearful, selfish, indifferent, or have an attitude of apathy because the stakes are way too high. 

Some of us have been Christians for so long that we have forgotten what it was like without Christ in our lives. We have to move beyond our selfishness. We cannot be indifferent and have a “don’t care, nonchalant approach” about lost people. Jesus suffered on the cross for lost people, Jesus died for lost people, Jesus came to save lost people. To be indifferent about lost people is to be deceived. In addition, we also shouldn’t be afraid of people’s perceptions of us. That works in two ways. First, we are afraid to share Christ because we don’t want to be seen as religious nut balls or bigots. But let me ask this, if someone had cancer and we had the cure, wouldn’t the most unloving thing be not to tell them about the cure? Whether they believe or reject what we have to say, at least we loved them enough to tell them the truth.

Secondly, we think Jesus told us to withdraw from lost people. Jesus didn’t tell us to withdraw from lost people, He commissioned us to reach them. Matthew 29:18-20(CEV) “Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” Don’t ever think that you are too spiritual to reach lost people. Those who do that, don’t understand Jesus’ mission to the world and our commission by Jesus. We must never become self-righteous and think that we are better than those who are lost. The only difference between us and them is Jesus. Remember without Jesus, we were exactly where they are. Luke 5:28-32(NLT) “Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.  But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’  disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum”  Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Jesus gave His life for sinners, which we once were, so let’s allow that beautiful fragrance of Christ to permeate everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. Paul reminds us to season our words with salt so that we can have the right responses. Don’t be afraid of questions you don’t have the answer to. It is better to say you don’t know and remain kind than to get into a heated debate. Jesus did not call all of us to be debaters, (well, maybe some), but He did call all of us to display His love. We are His ambassadors and have this amazing message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:20(NLT) “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” We must let people know that there is a cure for what ails them, His Name is Christ Jesus! His grace is greater than any sin. His love reaches deeper than any discomfort that we might face. His kindness breaks down the walls of indifference. Humility stomps out a self-righteous attitude. Acts of mercy help open the door to hearts, and integrity demolishes hypocrisy. We must live what we preach so that the sincerity of Christ’s message is clearly evident in us.

There is Heaven to gain and Hell to shun. Luke 15:7(NLT) “In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” Heaven rejoices more over one lost sinner coming home than 99 saints staying home. Heaven leans over when we share the good news of Jesus and hell shudders. Why? Heaven is ready to start a celebration every time a saint witnesses about Jesus to someone who is lost. Hell shudders because someone might get plucked out of the fire. Jude 1:23(TLB) "Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren’t pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners.” Let’s be part of the reason that Heaven celebrates and hell loses. May we live with this kind of mindset towards lost people: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles H. Spurgeon 

People whom we reach through Christ’s message are part of the fruit we take to heaven. We want to make it difficult for people to go to hell. We want to populate heaven and plunder hell. God heals us and restores us so we can use our story to tell the world about “His-story”. That is why we must dress like Christ, with His mercy and compassion, and display His love. Our words must be seasoned with salt and we must diffuse His fragrance everywhere we go.

1 Peter 3:14-16(NLT) “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.  But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.”

Prayer and Reflection:
  • Jesus said more about hell than anyone else, so most of what we know about hell comes from Jesus. Hell is worse than we can imagine, and heaven is greater than what we can dream. With this in mind, how much should we focus on reaching people for Christ?
  •  Jesus told us that there is no problem with the harvest; it is ripe and ready, but there is a problem with a lack of workers. (Matt. 9, Luke 10) He told us to pray for the harvest. Are you praying for lost people to be saved? If not, will you start?
  • What can we do to overcome our fear of sharing Christ?
  • Do you think people’s reluctance to share about Jesus is a lack of knowledge or a lack of compassion? Why do you not share Christ more?
  • Hypocrisy is always mentioned as the biggest reason why people don’t receive Christ. What can you do to make sure your life is free from hypocrisy? 
  • Salt is no good when it stays piled up, but it is of great value when it is dispersed and distributed. We fellowship to get filled up to go out into our mission field. Focusing only on one and not the other will make us unbalanced and unfruitful. What balance do we need to have between fellowship with one another and obedience to the Great Commission? How do we keep that balance?

Father, thank You from the depths of my heart that You saved me. I worship and praise You for my salvation, the greatest gift of all. Thank You that I can know You, love You, serve You, follow You, and be part of Your family. Thank You for sending someone on my path, and my family’s, to share Jesus with us. Thank You, Jesus, that You humbled Yourself to the point of death on the cross. I know that people matter to You. They matter to You so much that You were crucified on their behalf. May I never take for granted what it cost You to save my soul and the souls of others. Give me Your eyes so I may see, give me Your ears so I may hear, and give me Your heart of compassion.
Lord, I pray that I will truly represent You well. Help me to be real and authentic. Help me to be kind. Help me to be respectful. Help me to be honest. Let me not be condescending or hypocritical or phony in any way. Help me so that my words and my actions match. Give me opportunities so I can start a conversation, and give me the words to speak. Help me take the initiative without fear of rejection or ridicule. Give me a boldness and a confidence through the power of the Holy Spirit. Remind Your church that the harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. I pray for myself and my fellow believers. Make us an army of soul winners, help us to lead many to righteousness. May we be the church that obeys the Commission You gave us.
May we see a great harvest in our Temecula Valley all for Your glory! In Jesus Name, Amen!
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