Colossians & Philemonby Mike Raiter
Ilive in a big city, and right in the heart of that city. My wife and I love it. I love the hustle and bustle, and having people all around us. We live next to our church—a beacon of light in a city of people who give little thought to Jesus. Your situation may be very similar.
How should we live as Christians in a non-Christian world? We do not lock ourselves away in monasteries. We also do not cut ourselves off from the people around us. Paul’s last piece of counsel to the Colossians is how we are to live with “outsiders”. He says two things: walk and talk.
Paul has already talked about walking the Christian life (Colossians 1:10; 2:6), and now he tells us to walk and act wisely with those outside of Christ (Colossians 3:5). We have seen that there are really only two kinds of people in the world: those in Christ, and those “outside”. Paul has repeatedly spoken about wisdom (Colossians 1:9,28; 2:3; 3:16), and we need it particularly in our interactions with outsiders. We need to ensure our lives match our confession. We need to know when to compromise and when to stand our ground, making the best use of our time. It is like seeing a sign outside a shop: “Massive Sale! Last Days!” In other words, rush in now because the time is short. That is Paul’s point: Jesus is coming soon; do not mess around with your conduct; live godly lives before outsiders!
Next, Paul tells us to talk with speech full of God’s grace, being winsome and compelling (v. 6). Note: Paul is not telling us to get out in the streets and start evangelising (although that would be a very good thing). We cannot all do that. But we can always give an answer to those who are searching for one. All around us, and especially during tough times, people want to know the answers to the big questions. What is life about? Is there something after death? Where is God? What do you Christians believe? We should pray for these often surprising opportunities. And be ready. Know what and why you believe.
How important is wisdom in our interactions with non-Christians?
Can you think of times in your life when you have had an opportunity to talk about the Lord Jesus with someone? Do you feel prepared to give answers to questions that could lead you to explaining the gospel? How can you equip yourself better for such occasions?