“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:5-6
Walking in wisdom is our call but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The world wants us to walk in its direction, be concerned with its issues. Candidly, more and more even here in America we face ridicule or lawsuits for expressing our beliefs. But I digress.
Paul says to “walk in wisdom toward those who are outside.” Who’s outside? It’s safe to say the people outside are not inside. In this context, he is referring to the church and the world outside of the church: the secular world.
Redeem the Time
Something that has been used but has some value can be redeemed like recycling aluminum cans or plastic bottles. Time is one of the only unsustainable resources we have. Time cannot be manufactured. Rather, it must be spent wisely. Be wise in how you spend your time and with whom. There are many warnings in the Book of Proverbs about foolish versus wise behavior.
Speak with Grace
If the word grace embodies all that we know about undeserved favor and forgiveness then how can you speak with grace? For me, this means accepting the fact that people outside of the church do not live their lives according to the Bible.
Yet many times, I am asked for advice from secular friends. They even inquire about what the Bible says on a subject. I find myself answering questions with the phrase, “In the context of Christianity” because often people are unfamiliar with the Bible’s teachings.
My goal is to answer questions objectively with empathy and love. It’s more effective that way. We don’t have to agree with people to love them. We need to be wise about those who only want to argue and those who truly want help. Be gentle, truthful, and kind.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Seasoned with Salt
Salt purifies. Salt gives flavor. Salt adds value to the meal.
“’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.'” Matthew 5:13
Speaking with others with grace and adding value to their lives is a conscious effort. As humans, we have a subconscious desire to be accepted and, more often than not, we will compromise our beliefs first.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
As Christians, we’re not called to escape the world and live on a commune. We will have jobs, teachers, friends, and neighbors who are not believers. We need to be wise, graceful, and giving in our interactions with them.
“ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Questions for Further Thought:
- What is your impression of this passage?
- Do you interact with non-Christians?
- Further Study: I encourage you to look up the following verses from which the text is based.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.