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.
In these verses, Paul encouraged those in the church of Colossae to live in ways that served to advance the gospel to those around them. They are…
1. Pray for opportunities.
We must be disciplined in prayer. Prayer is not something we fall back upon when all else has failed. It must permeate our lives as believers. And one thing we need to continually pray for in our lives is opportunities to converse about the gospel. Are you praying for opportunities each day?
2. Live lives that reveal the credibility of the gospel.
It’s not that perfection is required, but if we claim to follow Christ, our lives should be a reflection of His grace. We must be careful not to unsay with our lives what we espouse with our lips.
3. Pay attention to who is around you.
We must take note of those around us who are not-yet-believers. In the book Right Here, Right Now, authors Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford point out that “we don’t need to add ‘spiritual activities’ to our life as much as we need to make our actual, everyday life spiritual.” We must realize that the normal routines of life can present themselves with tremendous opportunities for spiritual conversations.
4. Develop a sense of urgency.
To develop a sense of urgency is about being intentional. A sense of urgency is not about you rushing around living a hurried life trying to save the world, but neither is it just sitting back waiting for someone to knock on your door asking you how to be saved. It has been said that “if men are to be won to Christ before he comes to judgment it must be done now.”
5. Be gracious.
Do we seek the good of others? When we talk with those around us are we really interested in them? When we share the gospel with those around us, are we seeking to just get our point across or do we really listen to them? A major ingredient of graciousness in conversations is us giving up our need for it to be all about us. No one-up-man-ship allowed! Our talk should be for the good of others.
6. Be lively.
I like what David Garland wrote in his commentary on Colossians. He wrote, “Many believe that obedience to God is ‘tedious, boring, dull’; and many believers ‘do their part to confirm this attitude by being tedious, boring and dull, seasoned with nothing. Godliness is not to be equated with stodginess.”
I don’t think this means that to share the gospel with others that we must be entertaining, but nonetheless, it should be something more than a formula we recite. Should we not as believers be most alive and enjoy more than anyone the life that God has given us? Shouldn’t such joy come through in our speech?
7. Be prepared.
No doubt, there are difficult questions that will come our way concerning our belief in Christ. As we live lives that reflect God’s grace and speak in graciousness and kindness the good news of who Christ is, there will be questions.
Responding to questions of the faith is more than just giving some type of “Sunday school” answer. And not all questions are the “hard questions” of the faith. However, for those hard questions that do come your way, be gracious in answering and be gracious and humble in admitting you don’t know the answer if such is the case.