“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.” (Colossians 4:5-6)
Why are these verses foundational to our faith? Because as believers we are charged with influencing the world with the gospel. That means that we must deal with people. And people aren’t always easy to deal with. Paul is talking here about how to deal with people who are outside the church and disengaged from the gospel.
We must be wise – Wisdom is more than knowledge. It is the application of knowledge. But there are some things that are generally true about people that we need to keep in mind so that our actions can be wisely informed:
- People need hope
- People need encouragement
- People want to live with purpose and joy
- People are sinful
The more that we can understand people the better we can be at demonstrating the love of Christ to them.
We must be opportunistic – Pastor Mark Batterson says: “People who live in prayer mode see opportunities that other people don’t notice. People who don’t live in prayer mode are opportunity blind…. Prayer has a way of helping us recognize that what we might dismiss as human accidents are really divine appointments.” We must be prayerfully on the lookout throughout the day.
We must speak carefully and intentionally – We want what comes out of our mouths to draw people to Christ not repel them from Him. We forget sometimes just how powerful words are. Words can be inspirational. Words can change the course of history. Words can refresh the soul. But words can also devastate and kill. Speaking with grace and using language that is “seasoned with salt” means that we are being careful and intentional to use words in ways that move people to engage the gospel and find hope and joy in Christ.
We have what people need. Let’s allow our actions and our words to both speak loud and clear so that the gospel might triumph in our city and around the world.