preserve by abiding

Our first year or so of marriage was pretty eventful and it is funny how small insignificant things can stick out even while big life is occuring. The gift of living alongside someone, or in my case – two crazy brothers (one of whom I am married to and one of whom my husband was

“married” to – just kidding, we worked that out!) is that you are invited into their lives in a way that can only be experienced when there are consistent, small moments of interaction. The funny aspect of living with someone is that you also find yourself in very silly yet potentially dramatic disagreements. Unfortunately for my cohabiting brother-in-law I found one disagreement in particular life-altering for him and was therefore determined to persuade him to my side. It was so simple. Use less salt. The amount of salt he used was so excessive that I could not even bear to watch him “season” his food. The guy was going to die and I needed to save him. So in an act of service the salt quickly disappeared. However, unlike my husband who cannot manage to find the milk in the fridge, my brother-in-law could track some salt and always discovered its hiding place. So the battle waged on and as he has now moved on to a much better living arrangement with his own sweet family, I still cannot help but mention it at shared meals. He is healthy, he is fine but man was I bent on kicking that salt intake! He was attracted to that salt and was [sadly, is] not afraid to make it known.

These past few weeks, honestly months, years? – we have witnessed a whole lot of in your face brokenness in the world. This world seems unhinged in a lot of ways and as God’s people we know our hope is anchored and present but we can easily be overcome, our flesh is weak.

But the Spirit is willing.

Willing to what? Willing to work out of His broken people. The Spirit abides in us, we are new creations in Christ, a place and people for God to dwell. The Spirit is manifested in Jesus. We can see the fruit of the Spirit because we know how the Spirit would move in this world, through the hands and feet of Gods’s only Son.  Jesus is the visible Spirit, the image of the invisible God. Despite the brokenness of this world, of me and you, Jesus says this:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Matthew 5:13

That so desired, sought after seasoning – salt, is what we are to this earth. We are the living out of the Spirit on earth. Because of His grace, lavished upon us, His glory is seen and experienced through us. Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth. Salt is known for many things, most of all it’s flavor and preservative qualities. However in Jesus’ time, through the manner in which salt was extracted from the ground some impurities remained rendering it possible for salt to truly lose it’s taste. Jesus knows that we are no different. We are so impure. One day our knowledge of the fullness of Christ, the transformation to full glory will come – praise the Lord for that promise. But now, we live in the in-between.We like ancient salt are impure yet because of Christ’s obedience God looks at us as righteous and calls us accordingly. Salt can’t work, it cannot just “be better ” salt, or serve endlessly to remain salty, so how does salt retain it’s saltiness?

FIXED TO THE ROCK

All of its taste, all of its purity comes from remaining. Apart from our Rock, our Fortress and Deliverer, our Salvation, Shield and Stronghold we are of no eternal value to those around us. The Spirit is willing and Jesus commands us to preserve the Spirit’s work through abiding in Him. All things are possible with Him; the most divided of thoughts, the hardest conversations, the injustices of this world, the weak, the proud, the most proficient, those who murder and kill, deep anxiety and great fear, selfish hearts, righteous minds. None are without hope. We are not without hope. May it never be that the people of God do not abide in His Truth, in His presence, in praise, thanksgiving, and prayer, FIRST. Before we speak, we listen to the Spirit’s willingness to work in our own hearts and minds. Before we act, we stop to the Spirit’s willingness to work in our hands and feet.

“If we let him—for we can prevent him, if we choose—he will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a…dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright, stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) his own boundless power and delight and goodness.” C.S. Lewis

How hard it is to really let go of our own will and to lay open a space for Him to work. The struggle is present and often times we falter. The confession of our weakness is abiding. The delight in how we have seen the Lord work is abiding. The victory of holding our tongue is abiding. The vulnerable heart searching for Truth to fill in the gaps is abiding. The dancing in the kitchen to make it through yet one more meal is abiding. He is our source of deep joy. He is our refuge in sorrow. Continue to give it all to Him. The one who has called us, is with us, today and everyday. He is there with you and here with me. He abides, so must we. “you are the salt of the earth..” Preserve what is holy by holding on to the only holy One. Remain in Him to retain the deepest flavor. The world will taste and see that the Lord is good if we remain fixed to the Rock.

My prayer Lord is that we, those you have called to such a rich inheritance, would not hinder the willingness of your Spirit. May we abide intimately and give you our first thought. Be near Lord, strengthen us and increase in us for your glory is powerful to transform. We are nothing without you. Help us to live as sons and daughters of the most high King, from whom much has been given. You are good. You are holy, just, and merciful. We praise you for choosing to work in us and through us. Amen.

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