Filled With Grace, Seasoned With Salt (On Christian Speech)
The more I read the book of Colossians, the more convicted I feel about wearing the name of Christ. Colossians is richly saturated with an emphatic call to live a transformed life that conforms to the image of the Lord. Our old and earthly fleshly-driven lives of complaining, incessant irritation, anger, quarrelsome mentality, unforgiving hearts, vulgar language, gossiping, lustful desires, etc. must be nailed to the Holy Christ’s cross and put to death (Colossians 3:5-8). We must live the new and heavenly Spirit-filled way that causes us to look like Jesus–a life full of love, compassion, gentleness, humility, forgiveness, kindness, gratitude, patience, purity, and wholesome speech (3:10-17). Simply put, our lifestyle is one of renewal and restoration that mirrors the glorious resurrection of Jesus (2:12; Romans 6:4, 5).
With that being said, a passage that’s currently convicting me in the letter to the church at Colossae is in the fourth chapter:
“Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person” (4:5,6).
This short yet powerful passage is filled with a meaty substance that every Christian must pay attention to and practice. Before we consider how to live out this verse, let’s look at what some of these words mean in the Greek:
Gracious (charis): “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; verbal pleasantries which the foolish affect in order to ingratiate themselves.”
Seasoned (artyo): “used of preparing food, to season, make savory; pleasant and wholesome.”
Salt (halas): “Salt is a symbol of lasting concord because it protects food from putrefaction and preserves it unchanged.” Another usage of salt was to fertilize land.
Everything we say and even publish on our social media must be words of delight and holiness. It should generally cause non-Christians to receive what we say either with peace despite not agreeing with us or to become interested in learning more about Christ.
The apostle Paul likens Christian speech to a savory and delicious meal that people should consume with joy. Think about a time when you ate something spoiled or bland that quickly made its way out of your mouth and into a napkin with the rest of the meal being tossed in the trash with disgust. Well, when we are throwing insults at people, gossiping, demeaning others for their political stance and lifestyle choices, making unbeneficial controversial posts that causes unfruitful debates and arguing, etc., we are serving the world an unsavory message about Christ that repulses them. Our behavior must continually and at all times be filled with wisdom and the way we speak seasoned with purity, loveliness, holiness, and charm.
Consider the gospel of Luke when Christ stood before the crowd to speak. It’s written that His words were so gracious that it caused people to be filled with wonder, even though most had a hard time believing in Him (Luke 4:22). His words left an indelible mark in their minds.
A Call For Self-examination
What does our daily conversation consist of before non-believers. . . ?
Constant complaint, irritation, or unrighteous anger about current events?
Non-beneficial conversations that don’t plant gospel seeds in the minds of those listening?
Posting unfruitful political matters that stirs up division and unhealthy debates?
Demeaning/insulting governing authorities?
Quarreling with our fellow brother or sister in Christ before non-believers (even on social media)?
Profanity or crude jesting?
Making prejudiced remarks or insulting those who are created in God’s image (James 3:9-12)?
OR are we . . .
Speaking “whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8)?
Proclaiming the “excellencies of God” (1 Peter 2:9)?
Sharing the good news of what Christ has done for us and able to do for others?
I’m currently examining and realizing that I need to work on my speech. We not only wear our Lord’s name, but we must also emulate who He is, and that includes His gracious, compassionate, and gentle speech.
Here are some passages to meditate on in our day to day lives that will transform our words:
“Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
“Words from the mouth of a wise person are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him” (Ecclesiastes 10:12).
“Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalted, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50).
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, skillful in teaching, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26, emphasis added).