Wednesday in the Word: A Touch of Spice

Matthew 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.”

“This pie isn’t very yummy.”

My son said that to his father after trying my pumpkin pie. I knew it couldn’t be true. I followed the recipe exactly, and I’ve been baking for years. This wasn’t my first pumpkin pie.

His little kid tastebuds must not be ready for pumpkin pie, I reasoned. Convinced there was nothing wrong, I tried a bite. If I could have spit it out without being disgusting, I would have. There wasn’t a nasty flavor. There wasn’t any flavor at all. I had a mouth full of tasteless mush. My son was correct. The pie wasn’t very yummy.

I followed the recipe perfectly. The flavors should have been wonderful. But my spices were old and had lost their flavor. Whole containers of them could have been added to my pie, and it still would have been a flavorless mess.

As we go into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I’m reminded of my pie and the verse above. Many will gather with family for holiday meals. It’s a great time to catch up and reconnect.

But family get-togethers also bring the potential for hurt feelings, disagreements, and discomfort when differences of opinions and personalities season our attitudes. With nerves frayed and external stressors already at a high, even believers can find it challenging to project the image of Christ to those they love.

We’re to be the salt of the earth. The seasoning of God’s love to the world. What does that taste like? It tastes like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). This fruit of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives are the seasoning each of us should bring to our holiday tables this year.

Wonder what love tastes like? It tastes like patience when a family member just has to be right. Real happiness without envy for our family member’s new toy or raise or whatever. It tastes like refusing to one-up our loved ones and not giving in to any desire to tell everyone how great we are. Love is conscientious and polite to our family members, even the ones getting on. our last nerves. This seasoning tastes like looking out for others instead of our own wants. It’s keeping our attitudes in check, refusing to go off on others or holding long-since forgiven wrongs against each other. With love seasoning our time together, we will speak truth, do what is best for our family, trust, hope, and persevere (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

That’s a tall order for any day, but especially so in times of family gatherings. But it’s not ours to accomplish on our own. We can’t. The Holy Spirit helps direct us in the way we should go. His nudge tells us when we’re toeing the line of sin and losing our Jesus flavor.

Listening closely to Him will also tell us if we’re veering in the opposite direction. A pie with too little flavor is rendered inedible, but so is a pie with too much flavor. I’m not saying we can be too Christian or too like Jesus. But we can step in trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit instead of listening to His prodding. The result is an over seasoned holiday and unbelieving family members walking away with a sour taste in their mouths for all things God related.

When our desire to see our family members in relationship with God pushes us to make every discussion and every point about getting them to see the truth, our faith becomes a weapon used against them. Showing them truth ends up putting them on the defensive, and it leaves a bad taste in their mouths. It’s like opening that container of cinnamon and dumping it all into our pie. We aren’t called to shove the pie of faith into their mouths when they’ve already refused it.

It is our job to faithfully be the Jesus seasoning in their lives while letting the Holy Spirit move them to taking that first bite. He knows when they’re ready. If we’re listening to Him, the Spirit will guide our actions and our words at the right times and in the right ways to lovingly guide them into relationship with God.

As we face this holiday season, with all its opportunities for discord, let’s determine to season our gatherings with the seasoning of God’s love instead. Let’s go into each one with prayer covering our actions, attitudes, and words. Determine to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in every situation. Instead of being too much or too flavorless, taking time to speak and act according to the Spirit’s leading will make our seasoning just right this holiday season.

 

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