Salt has been used as a metaphor to Christian life. Jesus in His mountain preaching used SALT and LIGHT as figures of speech. I am sure you might have seen, heard and read much on Christians being the salt of the world. Here I wish to highlight only one character of salt which helps it to be used in all ways, i.e. dissoluability. Salt dissolves in anything and everything. This ability to dissolve is essential for the uses of salt such as preservation, flavoring, purification, improving texture, and fermentation.
Seasoning is a process in cooking which adds flavor to the prepared dish. Seasoning can be of different types based on the main ingredient used for seasoning. They are: saline seasoning, acidic seasoning, hot seasoning, saccharine seasoning. In Colossians chapter 4, Paul talks about the ways of a Christian master. When he was discussing about the standard for his speech he uses the word seasoning. Here is the verse, ‘Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man’.
Grace is a noun meaning, ‘courteous good will’. When grace is put into action the person is gracious. From the view point of a Christian, God was gracious to him/her. Gracious means merciful, forgiving, compassionate, kind, forbearing, mild, soft-hearted.
How can one be gracious in their speech?
Eph 4:29 says, ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers’. This verse teaches us how words show grace to the hearers. All we have to do is, two things:
- Refrain from corrupt words: Words that are dishonest, deceitful, amoral, untrustworthy should be avoided.
- Use words of edification: Constructive words will build up a lowly being. Destructive words will intensify the negativity of the situation. But those words that edify will help the hearer to improve.
We can follow these two rules to ensure that our speech will give grace to everyone who hears it. If we start following this rule then all our conversations will overflow with grace. This will add flavor to the relationships and enhance the life of the hearers.
Israelite nation under the leadership of Joshua had to confront Jericho. This was their first venture under the command of Joshua. This is mentioned in Joshua chapter 2. In the previous chapter God empowers Joshua with his promises and strengthens him for his mammoth task. In the opening of this chapter we read that Joshua sends two young men to spy the land. These two men went to the house of Rahab, the harlot who was an innkeeper too. She was their safe haven when the king’s men came looking for them. She gave them refuge and hide them in her house. She sent them away at a time that they were least likely to get caught.
Consider her situation
Just before they were about to leave, Rahab finds time with them. She acknowledges that the terror of Israel has struck Jericho. The people were trembling in the fear of being enslaved. She understood that her country is moving towards a dead trap. She admits that she is in a similar situation.
Confess her faith
After she has acknowledged her present situation she moves a step ahead to confess her faith. She annotates the marvelous ways of the God of Israel. She explains with awe the drying up of Red sea for the Israelites to tend upon dry land. She quotes the mightiness of the God of Israel. She explains how God overthrew the kings of Sihon and Og. She confesses he faith with the words, “I know that the Lord hath given you the land’ (Jos 2:9).
Consensus to be saved
She then asks the spies to swear that they would remember her and her family for the kindness that she has shown towards them. They made a consensus that all her family members who stayed in her house will be saved during the war. They could identify her house with sacrlet cord that was tied on the window of her house.
Rahab was a women of faith who considered her situation, confessed her faith and came to a consensus to be saved during the war. Considering one’s own situation is the prime step to exercise your faith. Faith on God will be aroused when we see the extra ordinary works of God. The little faith that Rahab had on God was instrumental to save her family when the entire nation was enslaved. Faith is the lesson that Rahab teaches us. The faith on God that you confess will set you free. Let us pray to God that we have the grace to confess the faith that we have in Him to exercise the salvation that is entwined.
Prudence is the quality of being cautious with wisdom and judgement. The Bible in Proverbs 27:12 talks about the benefit of being prudent, ‘A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished’. Prudence is necessary to plan our daily activities at home, at work, at school or at college. Prudence will help us to walk steadily without slipping.
Like a weather forecast, the prudent will be able to foresee an upcoming danger. During a voyage, the sailor looks through the telescope to know what comes next. Weather forecast helps us to plan the activities for the day. The telescopic view helps the sailor to plan the course of the ship and prevent a shipwreck. Similarly the prudent will have the judgement to understand the evil that would spring up in their lives. This foreseeing will help them to plan their ways accordingly.
The prudent not only foresees but also forestalls. The prudent plan to avoid the evil from affecting them. The change the course of things to prevent or minimize the damage to their lives.
Each of us have to pray for God to give us this prudence to save our life from damage. The Bible says in Proverbs 8:12 that, ‘I wisdom dwell with prudence’. Wisdom and prudence go together. When we pray for wisdom God will provide us the prudence that we require.
Pests are insects or animals that cause destruction to crops, food and livestock. Pest attack on crops would result in serious economic loss. Cropping would involve extensive, back breaking and tiring labor. Cropping would use up other resources such as water, manure, seeds; the farmer would have to shell out money in order to provide these at the right time. This much of effort and hard work can go down the drain within a matter of hours of pest attack. Crops that were grown over a period of time can be destroyed overnight. Pests can be of different types based on the destruction that they cause. Pests are specific; few attack the fruits alone, few the buds/flowers, few the leaves and few the stack/stem. Pests with specific target for destruction will result in effects of different forms. Similarly, destruction on human life can be at different levels. Our God the Heavenly Father promises to restore you life be it in any level of destruction. We read in Joel 2:25 as,
‘And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.’
God promises to restore the time, labor and money invested in the cropping for that year of destruction. Similarly God promises restoration every aspect of your life. If we look closely into the pests mentioned in the above list we would be able to relate it with our lives.
Restoration of destruction in the present: Locusts are crawling insects that swarms and destroy huge amount of the crops. The destruction caused by locust could be related to an immediate and strong situation that would affect a huge aspect of our life. Such destruction would affect the present situation of our human life. Locust-like destruction can cripple the normalcy of our life causing a total damage and bring our lives to a stand still.
Restoration of destruction in the reward: Cankerworms are insects that affect the fruits that are just ripening. Fruits could be an end point which the farmer would expect to convert his effort money. Destruction of fruits can be compared to the jobs that we have put our full effort into and just at the time of remittance it gets annulled. The destruction occurred at the time when you were about to eat the fruit of your hard work.
Restoration of destruction in the new beginnings: Caterpillars and palmerworms feed on the buds of the plants, thus delimiting proliferation. Bud is the first stage for fruit, worms nip the buds. These worms terminate the growth even before the bud opens. Similarly me might face situation in life where we see an end card before we could even start. Never lose hope. The destruction of new beginnings will have a huge troll on your life, despite which God is in control to restore the lose incurred.
Locust-like destruction can bring your life to a stand still,
Cankerworm-like destruction can destroy your reward,
Worms-like destruction can nip your new beginnings,
But our God is capable of restoration of any havoc!
Knowledge is the measure of success in this world. Knowledge can help you excel in studies, career/job, but wisdom is necessary for a person to excel in life. Wisdom is big basket which includes knowledge, experience and judgement. Wisdom can be earthly or heavenly. Heavenly wisdom has virtues while earthly wisdom have traits which acts as indicators. The test for my wisdom would be based on the related characteristics. We shall ponder over them in greater detail. You can read James 3:14-17,
14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Traits of earthly wisdom
The test for earthly wisdom is positive when we see any of the below mentioned quality traits.
- Bitter envy: Envy is the feeling of longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. Envy is kindled primarily by discontentment which is aroused by earthly wisdom. Discontentment breeds resentment.
- Selfish ambition: Motives that are directed towards one’s own self is selfish ambition. When a person places his/her desires, will, comfort instead of fellow beings is being selfish. Selfishness is a result of narrow-mindedness begot from earthly wisdom.
- Disorder: Disorder is a state of confusion. A person with earthly wisdom would never be stable; their thoughts and deeds would be unpredictable because they are person-specific or situation-driven. The temperament of the individual at a given point is directs their ways hence the disorderliness.
- Evil practices: Any ungodly practice is a fall out of earthly wisdom.
Earthly wisdom overflows with envy, selfishness, disorder and evil practices. When any of these qualities are present then it is branded as ‘earthly wisdom’. Earthly wisdom fails to related every activity of our life to our Maker. Earthly wisdom lacks the judgement required to acknowledge the fact that Christ is in control of every aspect of your life. And that nothing can move without His consent. Now we shall move on to the virtues of heavenly wisdom.
Virtues of heavenly wisdom
The test for heavenly wisdom is positive when we see all the characters given below.
- Pure: Being pure is not being adulterated or flawless. Being pure in words, thoughts and deeds.
- Peace-loving: Peace-loving is one step ahead of peace-making. A peace maker would strive to bring peace in a distress situation. While a peace lover would try to preserve the peace without any interference. Hence, peace-loving is a virtue of heavenly wisdom.
- Considerate: Being considerate is acting in a way that your ways will not cause interference or harm to the people around.
- Submissive: Being submissive is readiness to conform to the authority or the will of others. Submissive nature requires passive obedience.
- Full of mercy: Being full of mercy is showing compassion or forgiveness towards someone who is within someone’s power to punish or harm.
- Full of good fruit: Being full of good fruit is overflowing with goodness.
- Impartial: Being impartial is treating all disputes and rivals equally.
- Sincere: Be sincere is saying and doing what they genuinely feel or believe. Sincerity is the opposite of dishonesty or hypocrisy.
These qualities reside in those with heavenly wisdom. One can use these qualities as indicators to identify the type of wisdom. The presence of these qualities would brand them as ‘heavenly wisdom’.
Heavenly wisdom acknowledges the truth that each and every aspect of your life has a spiritual aspect. People with heavenly wisdom might wrestle against the powers of the darkness as mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’. Heavenly wisdom would help us to see the heavenly intertwining in every aspect of your life.
Virtuous hands work to make an earring that they may lend to the poor. We see underprivileged people everywhere around us. How do we react? What are we supposed to do?
Give to the poor
The Biblical paradigm of giving is described as those to give to the poor give to the Lord. We read in Proverbs 19:17 that, ‘Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done’. A similar teaching is seen in Matthew 25:31-46. When Jesus separates the goat and the sheep, the righteous would say that they never saw him as a person in need. But Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ in Matt 25:40. Both these Biblical passages emphasis the truth that,
“Giving to the poor is equated to giving to God”
Little acts of giving:
Few practical points to help us identify areas in our lives where we can engage in giving. Initially, we need to make a serious decision to start giving and look around for opportunities to give. In the due course of time, giving would get so entangled in our lives that we would subconsciously identify an opportunity to give. We can give food to the orphans. We can give water a stranger. We can give clothes to the deprived. We can help pay for the medical expenses of a sick destitute. We can give our time to a prisoner. These little acts of kindness can pass on like a ripple effect and reach many needy souls.
“Sow deeds of kindness when you are prosperous, you may not know when you might need one”
Reward for giving:
Giving is always tagged with receiving in human relationships, no wonder God in all his mighty be an exception to it. God would surely reward to according to what you have deeds. (Pro 19:17) The reward that is described for those who give to the poor is external and extravagant. Jesus promises a lifetime in the kingdom of God. (‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’ Matt 25:34)
“The reward for giving is eternal and extravagant”
Virtuous hands work hard to achieve a level that would help them to involve in giving to the poor. Lord, help me work hard to give to the poor. Lord, help me to show little acts of kindness that would bring eternal rewards in your kingdom.