How we act, the way we speak, and the manner of our responses to life matter. People are watching. Unbelievers are taking note. When we glorify Christ we stand out and they want to know how and why we can be so different. The Holy Spirit within us makes us distinct, and that distinction is amazing. They want to know Jesus for themselves when they see Him lived out in our lives.
But we have to make an effort. We have to put on Christ and choose to manifest the fruit of the Spirit. (Colossians 3:12). That means we ought to pray for one another that we will do those things.
Verses 2-4 read,
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
Notice Paul didn’t ask them to pray He would be released from prison. He certainly didn’t enjoy prison but He knew that his suffering had a purpose. He was there to share the truth of Jesus Christ with everyone he could. He asked that the door would be open, not to the prison, but for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.
What is the mystery of Christ? It is that we have salvation, absolute forgiveness, complete redemption and full restoration through the Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:26-29). It is a gift of grace by faith, not by works. Once saved we are given God’s Holy Spirit and He resides within us, guiding us and transforming us to Jesus’ image. (1 Timothy 3:16). One day Jesus will return and He will gather all the redeemed with Him. (1 Corinthians 50-56).
Knowing that we hold the key to someone coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior we should behave in a manner worthy of Him. 1 Timothy 3:15-16 reads,
“if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.”
How is it that we should act toward unbelievers? Verses 5 reads,
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
We should walk in wisdom, making the best use of the time. What difference will they see in us, if we act just like them, making foolish choices, speaking crudely, and filled with drunkenness instead of the Spirit?
Walking in wisdom means being led by the Spirit, using His discernment, and obeying Him. Colossians 1:9-10 says,
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Making the best use of time is important. We are here for a purpose. We are here to reveal Christ to them, to share the truth with them, and let them know there is hope in Jesus. We have to choose to spend the time we have with them, be it 3 minutes, 3 hours, or 3 days in the way the Spirit leads and not be afraid to be bold. What is more important, their salvation or whether they feel annoyed? No one knows what tomorrow will bring, no one knows the day she will die, no one knows the hour of Christ’s return. Time is of the essence. Ecclesiastes 8:6-8 reads,
“For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.”
Verse 6 says.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
The way we speak makes a difference. If we tell vulgar stories instead of telling about the greatness and goodness of God, if our speech is peppered with judgement instead of salted with grace, then why would our answers to the big questions matter? Why would anyone even ask us the big questions?
Our lives are a testimony to Jesus. Everywhere we go, whether we want to be or not, we are Christ’s ambassadors. We are witnesses to God’s great love and ministers of the gospel. We have to always be ready to share the truth and defend the truth. 1 Peter 3:15-17 reads,
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.”
Even in suffering, we should be graceful, loving, and kind, more concerned with others than ourselves, since we know that God is with us. Paul was in prison and his concern was the ministry, he wanted to be sure that he was able to share the gospel and that the churches and friends he cared for were able to share the gospel.
Paul closed his letter to the Colossians with verses of greetings and encouragement to and from different people. Verse 12 reads,
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”
And verse 17 says,
“And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
So I encourage you today, stand mature in fully assured in the will of God, fulfill the ministry you have received in the Lord, walk in wisdom, make the best use of the time, and let your speech be gracious so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.