Grace and Salt | Discipleship Prayer Day 26

Let my words be full of grace, seasoned with salt.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.     

― Colossians 4:2-6

Paul’s words above were given to the church and are intended to tell us how to live and function as the Body of Christ in this world, particularly as we intentionally and purposefully engage those outside the community of believers. A few quick observations:

  • When gathered and when alone, make prayer a priority. Observe these times of prayer, guard them carefully, and be thankful for the opportunity (Eph 6:18; 1 Thess 5:16-18).

  • Pray for new opportunities to talk about Christ in meaningful, appropriate, and relevant ways—anywhere, anytime, with anyone (Acts 14:27). Use every opportunity that is given.

  • Communicate clearly and meaningfully, in both words and actions—in doing so we “act justly…love mercy…and walk humbly” with God in our world (1 Cor 14:9; Micah 6:8).

  • Be wise in how you interact with people who are not like you, with those you don’t like, and with those with whom you have little in common. This is our purpose light-bearers and hope carriers (Matt 5:16).

  • Communicate with others, especially outsiders, with words that are full of GRACE (Eph 4:15) and seasoned with SALT (Mat 5:13).

Let’s look at two key components of our actions and words that, according to Paul, are essential for a meaningful and faithful Christian witness: 

Let your conversation be always full of grace…

En chariti  (ἐν χάριτι – literally “in grace”)  --  “full of grace” means kindness, favor, graciousness, blessing, or intentionally focusing on what will benefit the other person. In other words, interacting with others “in grace” means not focusing on my needs, my rights, my hopes, and my concerns, but rather on those of the other person.

Jesus, the Living Word of God, full of grace and truth (John 1:14), shows us an incredible demonstration of grace towards outsiders, those that no one in his own tradition deemed worthy. As we follow Jesus, and grow in Christlikeness, our words and actions will increasingly shimmer with his grace.

…seasoned with salt…

Today, if we refer to someone as “a little salty” we mean that they were sharp-tongued, aggravated, critical, or unsympathetic. This is NOT what Paul meant by “seasoned with salt” (though more than once I’ve heard this verse used as reason to speak harshly and with condemnation to others with whom there was disagreement).

In the ancient world, salt had three primary uses:

First, salt was valuable.

It was desirable, something people needed and wanted for the well-being of their families. Our words and actions should be valuable to those to whom we give them, offering encouragement, peace, blessing, and filled with the message of faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13) of Christ.

Second, salt added flavor.

Even today, salt remains among the most used seasonings in the world! Our words and actions should add “flavor” to people’s lives—reveal new insights, uncover unseen truths, and add a certain “tastiness” to the message of Christ that causes people to ask for more.

Third, salt was a preservative,

In the pre-refrigeration world, salt was a primary way to keep meat from going bad before it could be eaten. In our communities, workplaces, schools, and home, the people of God growing in Christlikeness use their words, their actions, and every opportunity given to them to be salty—to preserve rather than destroy—and acts as agents of preservation, protection, and proclamation of the ultimate Preserver, the One in whom there is eternal life that never goes bad!

Valuable…flavorful…preserving…all mixed together with grace.

Let this be your church, Lord…and let this describe my own words and actions.