The nations are all around us, even at our doorsteps. That is why we say that “both the nations and the neighborhoods are important.” We have been looking at the idea of open homes and building good relational/spiritual front porches in our lives.
Historically front porches built on homes were about enjoying the outdoors, engaging in hospitality, and interacting with others. Front porches were an attempt to be out of the house and in the midst of neighborhood life. They were a place to see your neighbors, as well as people passing by.
Relational/Spiritual front porches are important for each of us individually and corporately to engage people. We have to be intentional about having them. It is developing the spiritual and relational skills to be able to meet (show hospitality) and relate with others.
Year in and year out one of the most common social phobias among humans is public speaking because everyone is afraid of being embarrassed or negatively judged by others. This hinders us from developing our relational front porches. Because of this we need to be intentional about developing good approachability signals we send to others in everyday interaction.
Approachability has to do with how friendly we are and easy to talk to. “God so loved the world that He gave” is what motivates us to overcome our fears and engage people by making sure we have good front porches. Simple things like smiling, making the effort to greet people, engaging people with humor, finding common points of interest to talk about, and asking questions are all important
Seasoned with salt utterances
As we interact we are looking for ways to connect on a deeper Holy Spirit level. Paul uses an interesting phrase regarding this issue, “let you speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt.” Col 4:5-6 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (6) Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
In this verse “seasoned” means, “to prepare with stimulating condiments,” while salt means, “carefulness or forethought.” It basically means saying something that is impactive.
Seasoned with salt is the opposite of dull, boring, or routine. We all know what that kind of interaction is like. You ask someone, or someone asks you, “how are you doing?” The mindless dull reply comes, “fine.” One acronym for fine is “Feeling Insecure Numb and Empty.” People don’t really hear those empty responses and they definitely don’t work to build front porches. Dave Ramsey has a way of answering the question with a little salt in it, “better than I deserve.” It kind of catches people off guard and spices up the interaction at the same time.
Jesus used a “seasoned with salt” response with the Samaritan woman at the well. He basically said to her “if you knew who I really am you would have asked Me for living water.” It was a thought provoking and stimulating answer that evoked a response.
The Holy Spirit seasons us with salty answers
We have a great advantage when it comes to getting seasoned with salt utterances. We have the Holy Spirit who is all knowing and is the Master Communicator. One thing I have been doing is to ask and listen for “seasoned with salt” utterances from the Spirit. I have been praying the prayer Paul prayed about this. Eph 6:19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. The word “Utterance” here means “Something said, a thought or topic, a weighty saying, or a brief to the point saying that has truth to it.”
As I pray this prayer about utterances I listen for Holy Spirit to give words or phrases in my interactions with people that helps me engage them. I have had many examples of utterances that have salt in them. I once heard a phrase over a guy that I asked him, “Who has been praying for you?” This opened up a dialogue that revealed he was a backslidden preacher’s son.
I once heard a phrase as the new manager of a local business come in the door while I was inside, “you are here by Divine destiny.” I called him to our table and simply told him the phrase. It resulted in an immediate open door in which he sat down with us and shared his heart. We ended up praying for him.
I once had a guy speak to me across the YMCA exercise room (I had opened up dialogue with him in the past with seasoned with salt utterances), “you are getting in my head.” I ask him to repeat himself and he said it again, “what you have been talking to me about is getting in my head. Something must be speaking to me“(meaning God).
Many times “seasoned with salt” utterances have opened up further conversations that enabled me to make known the mystery of the gospel/Christ. I was speaking with a lady once and told her, “you personality is a gift from God.” She immediately teared up and that one utterance (I have repeated to her in different ways) has opened up a rapport with her that I can easily talk with her about Jesus.
Just today I was interacting with a guy named Philip running the register at Braums, “Philip is a great name and one of my favorite Bible characters.” He smiled real big and said “what do you mean, who was Philip?” He was from a Catholic background and I was able to explain who Philip was and that he probably had a similar personality. He asked me “what is an Evangelist?” I was able to explain it to him briefly as someone came in line and I had to go but it will be good seed for future conversations.
I was once confronted while walking in Westport by a group of atheist who were handing out literature. The phrase came to my mind as one young lady gave me a flyer, “If you don’t believe anyone is up there then you surely don’t mind me praying to them for you.” At first she didn’t know how to respond and slowly said, “sure I guess so.” I think she thought I was going to pray later but I laid my hands on her right in front of all her atheist friends. I prayed a faith filled prayer that God would visit her and make himself known. It was a privilege to have all the other athiest watch the event and I believing God would touch them as well.
I even try to do it with my phone voicemail messages. Most people give a bland message, “not here please leave a message.” I try to give something a little more seasoned with salt. I have done things like asking people for credit card information so I can book my dream vacation, what was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid, and what was the cheapest price you remember paying for gas growing up. I try to do it with good taste and I record it with a smile on my face (which research proves makes you sound more pleasant). I am inviting people onto my front porch. It tends to put people at ease as they step on my porch.
Pray and ask God for utterances (Eph 6:19), then listen for phrases that have a little salt in them (Col 4:6). See if it doesn’t help your front porch seem more inviting. Let people know you have a Spirit inspired personality (even though most won’t know what it is they will feel the difference). The world doesn’t need any more religiously boring people who have no personality. Let’s fill what is empty with salty, Spirit inspired utterances.
Enter the text or HTML code here