“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5-6),
One of the serious issues believers should deal with is how to conduct ourselves with outsiders. Paul addressed the issue as he wrote to the church at Colossae and in his Letter to the Ephesians. It continues to be a major issue with our attempts to take the gospel to our families and communities as well as to all the world.
How should we relate to outsiders? Here are three areas that will help us as we seek to reach people for Christ.
Our first concern should be with how we live. Those who are not yet believers want to know what our faith means to everyday living. One of the most insightful questions came from a young woman who wanted to know whether there was life before death.
She was not ready to talk about life after death until she knew about life in the here and now. While this may or may not make much sense to us, it touches where most people without God live.
As we live lives of joy, peace, love, and concern, we help others to know Christ.
How we live is not about rules; it is about how we treat others. As our lives reflect kindness, concern, and love, we begin to show those without Christ how He changes us and makes us new people.
Paul called this conducting ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders.
Secondly, we must care about what we say. Paul told the church at Colossae to always speak with grace, as if our speech were seasoned with salt.
As we speak with outsiders, we must speak the truth in love and share the hope we have in Christ. In a related passage, the Apostle Peter encouraged followers of Christ to always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).
Our words must be the truth that points people to Christ and helps them know the power of Christ to make them new creatures.
More than anything in life, the people around us need to know the hope of the gospel.
Finally, we must think about how we say what we say. Paul told the Colossians to be gracious in their speech. Simon Peter went one step further. As we give a reason for the hope that is in Christ, we must do so with gentleness and respect. Very few people will be argued into the kingdom of heaven, but over the centuries millions have been loved into the kingdom of God. This is the will of God for His people. Such lives will make a difference toward all people, particularly those who are outside the knowledge of Christ.
Let us always be ready to tell of the love of Jesus, and may we do it as people who love and care.