Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6 NLT
Paul wraps up his letter with a call to live lives of influence. He wanted his readers to see every moment of their lives as an opportunity for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He called them to live among "outsiders" or those outside the faith, in a wise manner. He gave a similar charge to the believers in Ephesus. "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do" (Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT). The word he uses for "live" is the Greek word, peripateo and it means "to make one's way, progress; to make due use of opportunities." It was also used to describe the actual act of walking about. So Paul is calling his readers to go about their daily lives, everywhere they walked, in a wise, thoughtful, and God-honoring way. And the same call holds true for us today. We must be careful about how we conduct ourselves among those who don't know Christ. We are His witnesses and ambassadors. We act as His emissaries. Each day we are given opportunities to impact a lost and dying world with the message of Jesus Christ as we live it out in real life. It has to show up in our actions, attitudes and conversations. His presence in our lives should set us apart from the rest of the world, and cause us to be salt and light, agents of influence, in the midst of the darkness that surrounds us.
Paul encourages us to take advantage of every opportunity, and he knew what he was talking about. He lived it out on a daily basis. In fact, he was writing this letter while in chains. He asked them to pray for him, that God would give him opportunities to speak about Christ, even though he was imprisoned. He was in chains because he shared the Gospel. But while he was in chains, he was going to continue to share the Gospel. He was going to make the most of his God-given opportunity. Rather than sulk and moan over his situation, Paul was going to take advantage of it. He was composing this letter to the believers in Colosse. And you can rest assured that Paul was going to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with every prisoner and guard with whom he came in contact. They would become his "captive" audience. Paul never wasted an opportunity. Do you?
Who will God bring into your path today? What circumstance or situation will you find yourself in today in which you might live wisely, and act as an agent of influence in the life of someone who does not know Christ? Whatever happens, good or bad, make the most of it. Live wisely. Thoughtfully consider why God has allowed you to be in that situation at that moment. He does not waste opportunities. Our lives are in His hands. He is orchestrating events in such as way that we never show up anywhere by mistake or find ourselves in situations of which He is not fully aware. Stop and consider what God might have you do or say. Make the most of every opportunity.
Father, it is so easy to live life as if everything is out of our control or just a series of unrelated, random events, with no meaning or purpose. I see too many things as speed bumps in my journey of life rather than as God-ordained opportunities to live wisely and influentially. I don't tend to see these circumstances as opportunities to see You work through me and impact lives around me. I want to live wisely, thoughtfully, and purposefully, regardless of the circumstance. Amen.