Luke 9:49-50 says, “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” So, what is this salt that Jesus is talking about? And what about that fire? We all want peace with one another; but if it takes having salt in me, what does that mean?
Salt is often used in Scripture to refer to purification and to illustrate the Christian’s spiritual impact on a decaying world. Salt brings out the taste of the things of God and preserves the world against the propensity of sin to decompose and destruct God’s intended creation. Christians are called to be the salt of the earth, delaying the day when there is no hope of faith from any soul. If you think things are bad in the world you live in, consider if there were no Christians (the salt) living among us. Perhaps it is because the Christians you know have lost their saltiness. Salt brings out flavor and acts as a preservative.
Jesus says that all Christians are salted with fire. Does the fire represent the Holy Spirit? Does the fire represent trials that purify the soul? Does the fire refer to both? We know from this verse that the fire is good because its outcome is that salt that is super tasty and powerfully seasons and preserves the world. Perhaps the fire is both the Holy Spirit and the trials of this life. It is true that when God knitted me together in my mother’s womb He gave me specific talents and abilities that are unique to me. I can use those character traits to impact my world. However, when I am salted with fire, I do, say and become beyond my natural abilities and talents. I am empowered by the Spirit of God to do more than I am capable.
Not only that but the trials of my life open the ears of people who might not consider my story seasoned with salt. When people know the hurt and unnatural or unreasonable pain that I endure with the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they listen. They recognize that there is something beyond human involved in the peace I live out before them.
At first, I didn’t like this statement by Christ. I would rather not have a salty experience, not even when I swim. I might choose to swim in the chlorinated swimming pool rather than the salty ocean all my life. Salt stings my eyes and dries my skin. It doesn’t feel as comfortable as pool water even though it is completely natural. Inside my man-made pool, I can swim with others who prefer not to experience salt. We can convince ourselves that we are missing nothing, even create man-made waves to make our swimming experience seem more like a wild and supernatural adventure. But there is no substitute for being salted with fire. The elements have to be God-made and not man-made. You can’t choose the fire that will bring out the most saltiness in you. You have to abandon yourself to the loud crashing of the waves and wind and the torrent of the sea that moves with power and at times knocks you right off your feet. You have to learn to trust that God is right there with you holding you up as you struggle to stand against the wild waves of the trials in this life.
As you walk out of your house and into your world, what flavor of Christ will enrich others’ experience of life because of you? How will your words, actions and very presence help push back the fall? What evidence is there in your life that you have been salted with fire? Ask God to help you see your saltiness.