Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Recently, our family connect group did the second part of the ‘Living-Proof Adventure’. As an aside, I like the fact that this course is called an ‘Adventure’ because already our group is discovering new and simple realities about evangelism. These discoveries seem to be giving each person a new freedom and joy in discussing how we can reach people with the Gospel.
But, back to our passage. Colossians 4:5-6 relates closely to the course we’re doing.
When interacting with and seeking to love those outside the body of believers we are to be wise and intentional in the way we act and speak. Firstly, we are to apply wisdom to the way we act towards people. Wisdom is not a set of rules we keep but rather a set of principles we apply according to the situation. This means that our conduct towards people will vary according to the person and situation, but will of course always be in line with godliness. To be wise will probably mean that before we try and tell people the gospel we should listen and understand them (something we discussed in our connect group). As Proverbs says often, the wise man listens. The more we know about a context or person, the better we’ll be equipped to know, how not only to love people, but tell them the gospel. Secondly, we are to speak words full of grace. The way of Christian interaction with others is not combative, harsh and dogmatic, but rather gentle, kind, truthful (salty) and wise. This means that when sharing the gospel we don’t ‘bible bash’ people, shout above the noise or argue in an unhelpful way. Rather we engage, listen and give an answer, a reason, for our faith in a way that respects others and shows a genuine love for people. As God’s people we are to be wise in our actions and full of grace in our speech towards outsiders. We’re to do this for the sake of the gospel and the glory of the one we serve.
This is a reminder of the simplicity of what we are called to, to love people and tell them the gospel. The most important thing we can do alongside living this out is to pray: ‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains’ (verse 3-4). As we pray to God so He speaks into the hearts of those we interact with. As we speak to Him, He shapes us and helps us to live wisely and speak words of grace.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of joining You in the work of bringing people to salvation. Give us a renewed passion to love people and tell them the gospel. Help us to be attentive to people, aware of Your work in their lives and courage to share the gospel. Lord, give us an opportunity today to speak words of gospel grace to people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.