If you could be any flavor you want, which flavor would you choose? Sweet, sour, salty, or bitter? At first thought, I would want to be sweet as honey. But after careful consideration, I realize it may not be a very wise idea. While candy can bring a smile or two to someone's face, too much of it yields only empty calories, and we all know where those excess calories will end up! All honeybonnie and lovydovy is all fluff and no substance, offering no lasting value. I want to be something that affects others in a big way and I want my flavor to last. So I choose to be salty.

Why salty? Well, what does salt offer? How does salt spice up our lives? Jesus desires for all of us to be the salt of the world, so we must understand exactly how we can be salty (Matthew 5:13).

Salt serves several purposes: it spices up dishes, preserves food, soothes a sore throat, and disinfects, among others. For instance, adding just a tiny bit of salt to food can make all the difference to our taste buds, and before the refrigerator was invented, people used salt to preserve food. In light of these functions of salt, how should we affect the world, spiritually?

Well, our role as the salt of the world and our position as the world's light should compliment each other. As we bring warmth and delight to others as the light, we're adding flavor to their lives as the salt. While we're guiding and leading people to live by godly principles as a beacon, we're preserving the world from moral decay. And when we expose the works of darkness, and warn and discipline wrongdoers, we're disinfecting people from sin.

But first, in order to positively affect our world, we will have to become different from the world in a good way and remain different; we will have to be set apart. If the world is dark, we'll have to be light; if the world is bitter, we'll have to be sweet. This is what being holy and sanctified means. We are to be holy because, as Jehovah our Creator says, "I am holy." (Leviticus 44:11, WEB.) Many of us wince at the thought of being "holy," picturing an unhappy someone rigidly following a set of manmade do's and don'ts: don't touch this, don't eat that, don't get married. While these rules of man "appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body," they are meaningless, not effective in fighting off the sinful indulgence of our flesh (Colossians 2:23). Even though being different means that we indeed need to avoid certain activities, we are not to be weighed down by external customs and rituals when they don't truly reach down into our hearts and change us into better people. On the contrary, holiness means wholeness and perfect in mind, body and spirit; and sanctified means set apart for good use by God. Becoming holy is a work done by God for us, whereas external religious rituals are man's vain attempt to become holy apart from God.

Now, some may think that when we are holy and set apart, we must stay away from the world--those who live in contrary to God's righteous will--in case we are negatively influenced. That's so untrue! How can we positively affect the world when we are not present in the world? When we prepare our meals, do we hide the salt shaker? Of course not; instead, we make sure it's always present so we can shake some salt into our food. Likewise, we must be in the world, yet not of the world (John 17:16-18). Being in the world and not of the world, we can add flavor to the world while not losing our saltiness and not allowing the world to take away our saltiness.

If we allow ourselves to be negatively influenced by the world and adopt its way of life, we would become a friend of the world, and "don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4) We are not to "love the world, neither the things that are in the world." If we love the world, we don't have God's love in us, for "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

How are you fulfilling your role as the salt of the world? If you're not sure where or how to start to shake your salt, then perhaps you'll receive some inspiration by reading what other salty people are doing, including yours truly:

"Every day, I write a devotional which is posted on my Facebook fan page, website, and Twitter. These places have fans from 20+ countries who take the opportunity to read and be encouraged by words from the Bible. Since the devotionals I post are written that day and taken from my own personal time with God that morning, this endeavor is very personal to me and allows God to use what He is teaching me to encourage and convict others as well." -Kristi Burchfiel, Author of Without Regrets: A Study of Ecclesiastes 4, Kansas, USA

"I believe the ways in which we are most effectively salt in this world is by loving well--loving our family and all those God brings across our path, from the kids on my husband's baseball team to orphans we work with each Friday afternoon. Perhaps most poignantly, being salt involves loving those who are quite frankly not so lovable--the obnoxious kid, the foul-mouthed child, the one who is so hurtful in lashing out. 'Loving well' is a tough job, but it's one we're called to. And we are not without examples: 'Greater love has no one than this--to lay down one's life for one's friends.' (John 15:13)" -Trudy Chun, Missionary, Author of Love & Ashes: A Bible Study of Love, Loss & Ultimate Romance, Hungary

"In order to be salt of the earth, we strive to be a Kingdom Business. This means that we are guided by Biblical Core Values as we try to live into the unique role God has planned for us in the marketplace. This represents a challenge to all of our team members to be different in the workplace to be more loving, more grace-filled, to represent Christ, and fight for justice. This impacts not only how we interact with each other but also how we work with vendors, customers, and the community at large. We strive to be different from the rest of the world so that, through that, the folks we touch will see Jesus." -Todd E. Miller, President, Classic Metal Roofing Systems, Ohio, USA

"I challenge myself each day to be an activator for people to experience Jesus. I continually pray for God to open my eyes and ears throughout the day so I can see and hear what He wants me to see and hear so that I can be His hands and feet by providing a kind word, a helping hand, a meal for the hungry, a prayer for a lost soul or whatever the situation needs according to how the Holy Spirit leads. This is not how I envisioned spending my days as I was a very successful businessman, a religious skeptic and one who had a powerful Damascus Road experience. Since surrendering my life to Jesus I have walked away from my dream, gone back to school to earn a Master of Divinity and now preach the Gospel wherever He opens the door." -Norm Grant, Preacher, Ontario, Canada

"The salt of the earth role that I play encompasses what I do in my daily life. Sometimes the best and in some cases the only Bible a person may read is by watching your testimony and life. Therefore I strive every day to be testimony conscientiously not only in public but also when no one is looking as well." -Kevin Benton, Author & Child Care/Social Worker, Pennsylvania, USA

"I am fulfilling my role as salt of the world by helping others to learn more about God's Word. One of the ways I do this is by gathering Bible verses that speak directly to a situation that a friend is going through, printing those out, and sending them to him/her with a note reminding him/her that God's Word is the best medicine for any situation we are going through." -Laura Wasson Warfel, Communications Specialist, Olivet Nazarene University, Illinois, USA

"I travel all over the state and sometimes country preaching the truth of Jehovah as plainly taught in the Bible. A little over a year ago I started a house church and have had the blessed honor of teaching slowly through the Bible with them. I pray that I will have the opportunity to preach the truth of Jesus to my final breath." -Ryan Dalgliesh, Preacher, Author of Love Notes: A Biblical Look at Love, Texas, USA

"I personally fulfill my salt role by being the hands and feet of Jesus both locally and internationally through mission outreaches. Over the last several years, my team and I have shared God's love and compassion with people of all races and ages in Houston and the surrounding areas, as well as in Central America. We have provided food for the hungry, clothing for the naked, shared God's love and forgiveness with prisoners and have seen many come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Matthew 25:31-40 is the driving force behind our work because we desire for our King to say, 'As often as you have done it unto one the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me.'" -Joan Murray, Joan Murray Ministries, Minister, Author, Missionary, Texas, USA

"I am fulfilling the role of being a salty Christian by first focusing on my relationship with Christ. When I do this others notice that I'm loving, peaceful, and have a joy that is attractive. Secondly I'm using my talent as a writer to direct others to Christ, the ultimate example of salt, who cleanses us from sin and preserves us for heaven." -Teresa Sells, Author/Writer, Arizona, USA

"I am fulfilling my role as the salt of the world, in many ways. First and foremost, by living my life in a way that causes people to wonder what's different about me. This usually prompts them to ask questions, enabling me to share the gospel with them. I also look and listen for opportunities to share Jesus and pray with strangers who randomly voice their problems to me at the grocery store and other public places." -Ruth Thompson, Senior Pastor of New Hope Worship Center, Children's Author of I Cannot Tell a Lie, Mississippi, USA

"I make God's will known to others. As rubbing salt onto a wound hurts, sinful humanity winces when they are told of God's moral laws. Even though people may not always like to hear the truths of God, I uncompromisingly lay down God's will because I know only God's truths can satisfy humans' thirst for true love, peace, and happiness." -Yours Truly, Gospel Proclaimer, New York, USA

Do you notice a common thread running through these responses of salty Christians? These people demonstrate to us that being the salt of the world is a lifestyle. Salt is what we are, whether we are at home, work, or dining out. Being salty is not something we decide to be whenever we feel like it. We are to constantly present our bodies as "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service"; we are not to be "conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our minds], so that [we] may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God." (Romans 2:1-2)

So go, be the salt of the world! Remember Jesus' words for us to remain salty at all times: "If the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men." (Matthew 5:13) Don't lose your flavor!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author with twenty-seven book awards, proclaimer of Jehovah God's good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, Summa Cum Laude (Highest Honor) graduate with Doctor of Divinity, motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet; author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah?"), contributor to twenty-five, and an editor of one; and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. http://www.shirleycheng.com

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at http://www.shirleycheng.com and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.