Grace, Seasoned with Salt, Part 4


Theme: Discerning and Wise Speech
This week’s lessons remind us that all who have received the grace of God in Jesus Christ therefore need to demonstrate that grace in our conversations.
Scripture: Colossians 4:6
Our comments should be discerning. This is what Paul is speaking about when he tells us to “make the most of every opportunity.” Not every moment of our day contains opportunities for sharing the gospel or speaking a timely or encouraging word. In fact, some moments are decidedly inopportune. If people in your company are rushing to satisfy a customer by meeting a critical deadline, that is not the time to distract them by opening a serious discussion about sin. If you are asked to honor an employee who is retiring after thirty years of good service, that is not the time to ask, “By the way, do all of you know the four spiritual laws?” That would be inappropriate, unwise, and offensive.
On the other hand, there are many more opportunities to speak about things that matter that most of us are conscious of, and a discerning person will pick up on them. People betray their anxieties in countless small ways, and a discerning Christian will quickly relate to these and testify to the peace and contentment that faith in Jesus brings. Discussion of current events can turn to the root causes lying beneath the world’s problems. The collapse of national morality can lead to a discussion of the need for inner spiritual change, which only God can give.
Also, we can create opportunities. Paul Little tells how he would often ask another person: “Are you a Christian, or are you still on the way?” That presented an easy alternative, and if they were not sure and said that they were still on the way, he would follow with: “How far along the way are you?” Many serious, helpful, and inoffensive conversations followed.
Our statements should be wise. We all know the story of the zealous Christian barber who wanted to witness to his customers. So when he had them in the chair, had lathered their face, and was about to shave them with a large straight razor, he would ask quite suddenly and fiercely: “Are you ready to die?” He could never understand why some immediately bolted from the chair and never came back. His witnessing was zealous, but it was unwise. Paul says that our conversation should always be wise, prefacing verse 6 with the words, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders,” and ending his words about our conversations with the clause, “so that you may know how to answer everyone.” 
How to speak, when to speak, (and when not to speak) are all matters that involve wisdom. But when we think of our conversations being wise we should also think of the content of what we say and how true wisdom is found not in the world’s insights but in the Bible. In its darkened and sinful state, the world may not regard this as wisdom. Paul says that when he preached the gospel the Greeks regarded it as foolishness. Nevertheless, the things of God are true wisdom, and we should be known as those who believe and often repeat these wise words. Paul told the Corinthians, “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Cor. 1:25). True wisdom comes from God through the instruction in the Bible, and the conversations of Christians should be filled with it.
Study Questions:

What are two other guidelines for determining the character of our speech?
What are some ways you have observed Christians failing to practice them?  

Application: Pray that the Lord would help you to listen carefully for statements or observations by people that will open up conversations to talk to them about spiritual things.

Study Questions
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