I’m running way behind in getting my blog updated, so I’ll make this a pretty short post.
These verses contain a pretty simply but important message for us. This is one of the few passages that directly address how Christians should approach evangelism and interacting with the world. Paul gives 3 clear steps.
1. PRAY In verse 2 Paul asks the Colossian Christians to pray for his evangelistic mission. But, perhaps surprisingly, he doesn’t ask for eloquence, or profound insight or wisdom. Paul first asks for God to “open a door for our message“. I wonder how often we place too much pressure on our presentation of the Gospel, and not enough time asking God to open doors. How often do we make ourselves responsible for the salvation of family members or friends, rather than allowing God to work in their lives and soften their hearts. It’s only after seeking God’s preparation that Paul seeks prayers for clarity in his own preaching.
2. ACT Having brought his mission to God in prayer, Paul doesn’t immediately start thumping the pulpit or setting up Bible studies. His next course of action is to consider how he behaves toward outsiders. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. People will judge our actions before they listen to our words. (This also assumes that we’re having interactions with people outside of the church. Often this is not true, as Christians circle of friends and acquaintances gradually tightens to exclude outsiders.) It’s not just elders who are to have a good reputation (1 Tim 3:7). If the church is to have a good reputation in the community, the individuals must also have a good reputation.
3. TALK Let your conversation be always full of grace… I’m often surprised how many Christians want to let their “actions do the talking”. It’s often suggested in Bible classes I’ve attended that when people around us see our attitude and values that they’ll want to question us about our faith. Perhaps that works sometimes. No matter how pure our actions may be, they will never point others to Christ unless we open our mouths and explain our actions and our motivation. While our actions often give credibility to our words, other times we need to speak first and unleash the power of God’s Word. I suspect that some of the reticence to speak up for our faith is that we often don’t know how to verbalise our beliefs.
I’m interested to learn whether my observations match the experiences of others, so please leave a comment.
- It’s always difficult to explain the relationship between God’s actions and ours. We need to pray for his intervention, but still speak up ourselves. Which side of the issue do you most often neglect, seeking God to “open doors” and then doing nothing, or taking all the responsibility for sharing the Gospel upon yourself?
- Where do you interact with “outsiders” during any given week? (eg. work, school, etc.) Do you find it difficult to befriend people who don’t attend church?
- How often do you have a spiritual discussion with someone who doesn’t attend your church? How would you seek to bring someone into relationship with Jesus? Invite them to a worship service? Try to set up a regular Bible study? Meet regularly for coffee? Wait for the right moment? Something else?