Colossians 4:5-6 – “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” NKJV
There are several messages in these two verses and each worthy of thought dedicated solely to them but I will ‘scatter-shoot’ in this devotional and highlight several things that stand out to me as I read.
Many has been the time someone quoted this passage telling me to WALK IN WISDOM and failed to note the qualification ‘toward those who are outside’. Please do not misunderstand I believe it is the desire of God and His provision that we can WALK IN WISDOM all the time but there is a specific message and emphasis here toward those who are OUTSIDE or not members of the Family of God or the Body of Christ. Remember Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10 that He was sending them out into a hostile world and they were to conduct themselves with wisdom and civility and in Luke 16 identified the shrewdness the world has and our need to be able to comprehend and contend with it. So wisdom is needed and especially so when we are dealing with those OUTSIDE.
However, the apostle adds one more thing that I never hear quoted in connection to dealing with those outside the Body of Christ, REDEEMING THE TIME. Solomon, the wisest man among human beings, said; “There is a time and a season to everything.” Jesus identified a group of people who did not recognize the time of their visitation and the continual urge of scripture is for us to be TIME CONSCIOUS in the sense of opportunity and brevity. So, in my view, the apostle is instructing those listening to always draw from the infinite wisdom of God in their associations with those not in the Family of God and to ALWAYS be conscious of the time and/or timing. Take full advantage of the opportunity and as we have all heard, “Strike while the iron is hot.” We need to realize the condition, situation and conviction level of the moment and REDEEM THE TIME.
Then in the next verse he directs his instruction to focus on how we speak to others and especially those outside the Body of Christ. Our words are always to be gracious or grace-filled word. He then adds ‘seasoned with salt’ and that is a fascinating phrase calling to mind the savoring or making something more palatable and easy to consume without hurting the quality of the food. He further clarifies that wisdom is required and knowing the timing is essential because we each person is receptive to different types of speech or presentations. Those of us who are parents learned that early in the learning curve of parenthood. My children were very much alike and totally different. My brother, sister and I responded totally different to instruction and correction and thankfully our parents realized that.
Relationships and ministry cannot be militaristic in the sense that it is ‘one size fits all’ in how commands are given and to whom they are given. It requires wisdom to know the moment, the time, the condition, the conviction level and God provides the grace and seasoning to make that morsel of truth not only palatable but desirable if we will allow the Holy Spirit to so guide us. In being ready always to give answer to every person that inquires of us we must have a continual inflow of God’s Wisdom and Grace into our lives. No wonder the writer of Proverbs could declare, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” and “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
May God be with you as you go through this day!