Salt is often identified as a substance meant for flavor, healing, and preservation. But too much of it renders a fine meal inedible, causes health problems, and suffocates life from living organisms. We are supposed to salt the earth with what has been given to us. We cannot horde the salt until we dehydrate and grow bitter. It must pour from us to be useful and valuable.
Scripture says the letter kills but the spirit gives life. The Spirit is often likened to living water. As the Spirit and the Word, the letter, work together, there is balance to kill all the impurities and enliven with nutrients. Without the Spirit, the Word mixes with flesh. Flesh is immobile, unmoving. It lacks current. Flesh causes the Word to become sedentary. It misuses the Word to browbeat, and bends the truth to accommodate personal opinions. It holds others to a self-made standard, rather than the life-giving one. Stagnation occurs. Church membership dwindles. Spiritual life fizzles. Death remains.
But where there is flow, there is life. Scripture declares there is life in the Spirit. According to Ezekiel, the Spirit is deepest in the valley, the place of the hurting and broken. It flows into the sea--a biblical parallel for the nations. The Spirit never isolates to one culture, one political group, or one level of society. Spirit-flow encompasses all people. Therefore, to have the fullness of life the Spirit affords, we must encounter the valley. Ours and others. And we must open our hearts and hands to all people.
If we call ourselves Christians, we should be full and overflowing with the Living Water. Our lives should be fruitful and healing. We should never forget that it was the Spirit and the Word that healed us in our brokenness and fed us in our hunger, that cut away the decay of sin, salted our wounds, and washed us into wholeness. We have been given much, and “to whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). If we don’t open up our lives and let the Spirit pour out, we can become stagnant, bitter, and rendered useless by the very thing meant to heal, preserve, and help us. Like Scrooge on Christmas morning, we can hoard what God has given us—keep our money, shelter our emotions, hold on to our loved ones, hide our talents. And we will wither and die. Or we can throw ourselves into the current. Open our hands and give. Praise with abandon. Put ourselves out there. Take a risk. Love wholeheartedly. Embrace the masses. Let ourselves be used. Only by letting the Living Water move through us can we experience the abundant life Jesus came to give and the fulness of His powerful, quickening Word.
Tip tidbit: Beware of the signs of stagnation. Distraction. Disillusion. Disinterest in church and personal worship. Criticism and strong opinions that measure others. Selectiveness that elevates self or compartmentalizes others. The antidote for stagnation is movement. Reconnect your heart to God’s, then do the uncomfortable. Love. Give. Serve.