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Original post 3/15: Practice What You Preach or Preach What You Don’t Practice

Post 5/1: Revisiting Practice What You Preach

Post 8/6: Practice What You Preach Revisit Again

I wish this subject in my life would go away, but it won’t. Apparently I still have something to learn and am slow in getting it. Or perhaps there is a word in here somewhere that is to be “salt”.  This little blog has garnered a lot of hits on the 3 posts above since March of 2010.  Again, I ask the question WHY? The searches on this subject continue to be very specific.  People are googling? (is that even word, LOL) very specific phrases that land them here. I’ve said all of this before!

I have come simply to the point where I can’t even say anymore, practice what you preach.  It almost always comes out of my mouth to preach what you practice. Perhaps that is what is wrong.  We don’t practice the Cross of Christ so how can it be preached? We don’t preach the Cross of Christ so how can it be practiced?

The Bible tells us very clearly there will come wolves in sheep’s clothing. It tells us very clearly there will be false teachers and false prophets.  There will be those who do not practice what they preach. Said before.  I have used Matthew 23 as my reference for this up until now, but here in the last couple of weeks there has been a connection for me with Matthew 5:13.  It isn’t just about false teachers and false prophets; it’s about how we present/represent Christ and His cross to the world and if we even do; it’s about living and practicing the crucified life; it’s about our individual life and character in every sphere in which we find ourselves. Must I say it? Practice/preach….Preach/practice.

Mat 5:13  “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  (NKJV)

Definition of TASTELESS – modern Webster’s

1a : having no taste : insipid <tasteless vegetables> b : arousing no interest : dull

1828 Webster’s

Tasteless

TASTELESS, a. Having no taste; insipid; as tasteless fruit.

1. Having no power of giving pleasure; as tasteless amusements.

2. Having no power to perceive taste. [Not used.]

3. Having no intellectual gust. [Little used.]

Definition of INSIPID – modern Webster’s

1: lacking taste or savor : tasteless <insipid food>

2: lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate, or challenge

1828 Webster’s

Insipid

INSIP’ID, a. [L. insipidus; in and sapidus, sapio, to taste.]

1. Tasteless; destitute of taste; wanting the qualities which affect the organs of taste;  vapid; as insipid liquor.

2. Wanting spirit, life or animation; wanting pathos, or the power of exciting emotions; flat; dull; heavy; as an insipid address; an insipid composition.

3. Wanting power to gratify desire; as insipid pleasure.

Egads, even our modern dictionary has lost its salt!!!!!!!!  I’ve explained my thoughts on that before, you read it and figure it out please.

Is it no wonder that Christ and His cross are tasteless (insipid) to the world today?  We still have self in the way. In our church (meaning the body of Christ remember) do we present an insipid Cross of Christ?  There is no power of giving pleasure or perception, there is no wanting spirit, life or animation taught  in what that Cross represents.  Art Katz states it this way: “What the Father looks for is not your earthly qualification, but the blood of Jesus. It is our key of entry. It has nothing to do with our human qualification, but rather the divine provision of His blood”. In other words He looks for death, death to self. The Cross of Christ means death. We fail to see that as a beautiful thing.

What has that got to do with salt, you ask? What has that got to do with practicing what you preach (or preaching what you practice) you ask? Hmmm…………

Salt is not the food. It is put on the food for the purpose of flavoring or preserving. It benefits the food by its presence. In the Bible salt is indicated as:

  • Salt was used for seasoning and preserving food. (as today)
  • Salt was found in great abundance on the shore of the dead sea.
  • Salt was used as an antiseptic in medicine. (Ezekiel 16:4)
  • Salt was used in the offerings of all kinds. Lev 2:13: “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings. Add Salt to all your offerings.” Every sacrifice was offered with salt as a symbol of preservation. Salt in this context symbolizes external preservation. Numbers 18:19: “It has an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.”
  • Sometimes captured cities were sowed with Salt to insure utter desolation of the place. (Judge 9:45)
  • Covenant of Salt: In Palestine and surrounding countries, salt was used to make covenants. To eat of a person’s salt is regarded as a token of amity and loyalty, and brings one under his protection. The covenant of salt picturizes the everlasting friendship between God and his people.
  • In the NT, salt is used to describe wholesome character and speech. Col 4:6 “Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with Salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

So how have we, or have we, as salt, lost our saltiness or the ability to practice what we preach/preach what we practice? And if we have, why?  From the context of the Beatitudes it seems that this happens when we resist being poor in spirit, meek, mourning, and so on. If you study the beatitudes, you notice that the characteristics that Jesus calls blessed are very uncomfortable to be or remain in, mainly because they are not characteristics that the world recognizes as blessed. It is difficult to remain in a place of recognizing one’s poverty of spirit. In the worldly way it “doesn’t feel good”. The world tells us to be self-sufficient and independent and that it is all about us. To live in one’s poverty of spirit is to remain in the position of recognizing you cannot give yourself life and so you are ready to receive it from God. This thing called death to self.

Death to self is not given any support by the world around us, so we are tempted to resist and turn away from this work of God in our lives, to “soften the message” or “dilute the solution” in order to fit in better. But when we turn away, we no longer point to Jesus Christ and His Cross, so we how can we be salt?  And when we do that we no longer are able to practice what we preach/preach what we practice because we have no concept of being seasoning or even being an antiseptic.  We reach for the pepper instead because it seems spicier.  Gives it a kick……… In using the pepper instead of the salt that kick gives it a different flavor, the flavor we chose, not the flavor of Christ.

Christ spoke of being salt before being light. Why?  He was using the word “salt” as a preservative or antiseptic.  In those times that was understood by the people He was talking to. They knew very well what he was referring to.  What do you use salt for?  To preserve live fish or dead fish?  Dead fish.  Salt is needed only to preserve something that will rot.  Spiritually, the world is dead and it is rotting.  This is the clear teaching of Scripture.  And we as Christians must act as a preservative.  Can you see yourself as a preservative meant to prevent the process of putrification and decay?

How does salt preserve?  It is only when it comes into intimate contact with the dead flesh.  It is only when you can preach and practice Scripture as you live it that it does not lose its saltiness. Jesus says, “It is not what you are that affects the world, but what is in you.”  The Cross of Christ in you is the power to practice what you preach.  Intimate contact with the Cross of Christ releases you to preach what you practice because it is Scripture come alive, remember.

There is a “but” in this verse. When you are no longer salty; you are of no value to God and you are of no value to man.  All you are fit for is “to be thrown out and trampled on.”

From Albert Barnes Commentary: The salt used in this country is a chemical compound – chloride of sodium – and if the saltness were lost, or it were to lose its savor, there would be nothing remaining. It enters into the very nature of the substance. In eastern countries, however, the salt used was impure, or mingled with vegetable or earthy substances, so that it might lose the whole of its saltness, and a considerable quantity of earthy matter remain. This was good for nothing, except that it was used to place in paths, or walks, as we use gravel. This kind of salt is common still in that country. It is found in the earth in veins or layers, and when exposed to the sun and rain, loses its saltness entirely. Maundrell says, “I broke a piece of it, of which that part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savor. The inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained its savor, as I found by proof…………….. “Maundrell, who visited the lake at Jebbul, tells us that he found salt there which had entirely ‘lost its savor,’ and the same abounds among the debris at Usdum, and in other localities of rocksalt at the south end of the Dead Sea. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that the salt of this country, when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun, does become insipid and useless. From the manner in which it is gathered, much earth and other impurities are necessarily collected with it. Not a little of it is so impure that it cannot be used at all, and such salt soon effloresces and turns to dust – not to fruitful soil, however. It is not only good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility wherever it is thrown; and this is the reason why it is cast into the street. There is a sort of verbal verisimilitude in the manner in which our Lord alludes to the act: ‘it is cast out’ and ‘trodden under foot;’ so troublesome is this corrupted salt, that it is carefully swept up, carried forth, and thrown into the street. There is no place about the house, yard, or garden where it can be tolerated. No man will allow it to be thrown on to his field, and the only place for it is the street, and there it is cast to be trodden underfoot of men.”

Trodden underfoot of men. Hmmmm……man’s ways, man’s justifications, man’s, man’s, mans’ – get my drift.

Barnes states the inner part  was connected to the rock……….the rock who gave us the words in red (huh, my friend). The rock who taught us that by practicing His life, which is to say a crucified life; by rending the veil of self as Art Katz says, which is to die to self; and by being salt as Jesus tells us, can we effectively and truly preach what we practice.  The crucified life.

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