The Mystery Revealed, Christ is Enough, so Walk in Newness of Life
Do you like easy-to-understand, short, applicable advice? Are you one of those people who prefer bullet-point instructions? Would you be excited to learn that with just two simple tools you can excel at all human relations? It’s true. Paul gives us two direct and simple instructions on how to deal with all kinds of human relationships. We looked at the first one last week and will now ponder the second one today.
Paul’s first instruction was to walk in wisdom toward outsiders, and he addressed the way in which we ought to live our lives. The second instruction deals with how we ought to speak. I think it is fitting that walking and the way in which we live our lives is addressed first, for as the adage goes “actions speak louder than words.” Nevertheless, our words can be very powerful, so we must be careful how we use them. Thus Paul’s exhortation to:
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
In this verse, the first word that pops out at me is always. Let your speech always be gracious. It’s not when we feel like it or when it comes naturally, but always, all the time, 24/7. Our speech should never be without graciousness. This is a tall order and one in which we will repeatedly fail. Nevertheless, as with the rest of the Christian walk, we must strive to make our speech increasingly seasoned by the help and power of God.
But seasoned with what? Seasoned with grace. The word translated gracious in our text is actually the Greek word charis or grace. So our speech must always be filled with grace, unmerited favor, goodwill, benevolence. We are most familiar with grace in the context of God’s generous, undeserved goodness and blessing toward us. We know that it is something we could never earn or become worthy of, but is a gift freely given. Likewise, our speech must be seasoned with grace, not become the hearer deserves it or has earned it, but because we choose to gift it. This is grace--both what we have received from God and what we are to give to others.
Why do we fill our speech with grace? What compels and motivates us to do so? Aside from the obvious fact that God commanded us to through the words of the Apostle Paul, the reasoning is found in the second half of Colossians 4:6. “So that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” That sounds pretty great! I’d love to always know just what to say and when to say it. But the reality is that seasoned speech does not come easily or naturally to us. However, just like we must choose daily to put on our new spiritual wardrobe, we also must continually strive to season our speech with grace. So let us continually work towards consistently speaking grace. For as the wisest man on earth noted,
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”