Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 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—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. – Colossians 4:2-6 (ESV)
Figuring out how to speak with our unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors is challenging for most of us. In today’s passage the Apostle Paul helps us to find a balanced approach to fulfilling this aspect of our call as Christ’s disciples. Dick Lucas writes:
The qualities that will make for effectiveness in ‘answering everyone’ are well chosen and nicely balanced. The Christian must conduct himself wisely toward outsiders, but wisdom is not to be used as an excuse for over much caution. He is to make the most of the time available, and time is always short. It is never easy to hold these two aspects together. The new convert, typically, is urgent, but can lack tact and discretion. The older Christian has the wisdom of experience, but often lacks boldness and importunity. Given this right balance between zeal and tact in conduct, there is always a balance in speech to be learned. This Christian speaking must always be gracious, especially when answers provoke argument. But gracious words can be insipid and dull, so the apostle asks for some seasoning as well. It is too much to equate salt with wit, but it is not too much to say that our answers should compel interest and attention. Piquancy is an important characteristic of the speech that wins people.
It is worth adding that Christians should not become so concern with “saying it right” that we become paralyzed and never say anything at all.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 29
Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.