The Mystery Revealed, Christ is Enough, so Walk in Newness of Life
We’re going to continue with Paul’s short commands today. In chapter three and the very first verse of chapter four, Paul gave a detailed outline of how the Christian household should be run and the way in which relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, masters and slaves should be conducted. Now Paul gives us a practical exhortation on how to handle relationships with those outside the family and outside the Body of Christ.
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
While this is a short, straight forward exhortation, let’s see if we can gain any new insights by taking a closer and deeper look at a few of the key words in this verse. First of all, the word walk has to do with how you live your life. So Paul is encouraging us to live our lives out in wisdom. This brings us to our first key word: wisdom. The Greek word here is sophia. Does that sound familiar? It should. Sophia is a popular girl’s name. But what does the Greek word sophia really mean? According to the learned Dr. Spiros Zodhiates in his The Complete Word Study Dictionary, sophia literally means “skill in the affairs of life, practical wisdom, wise management as shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgment and good sense.”
So Paul is encouraging us to live out our lives in practical wisdom, to be wise in the way and manner in which we live, to use common sense and not be foolish. This differs from intellectual wisdom or the ability to discern between right and wrong. Sophia is the ability to live out life well with common sense, sound judgment, and good management. It’s extremely practical and much needed in order to excel and flourish in life.
Let’s go back to Colossians 4:5. Now, if we were to re-read this verse with what we’ve learned so far, we’d read something like this: live out your life in sound judgment, common sense, and skillful management. The next part we’re going to analyze and break down are the following words: “toward outsiders.”
Outsider. This word is literally translated “foreigner” and refers to people outside of the Body of Christ, or unbelievers. So while in general we ought to live our lives in wisdom, we must be especially careful to walk wisely in regard to unbelievers. We can be gracious but not foolish. Friendly and loving, but not blindly trusting. While we are called to be salt and light to the world, we must be careful, cautious, and wise as we do so. As Jesus commanded His disciples in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” So let us walk in wisdom towards outsiders.
Finally, let’s look at the last phrase of Colossians 4:5. Making the best use of the time. This is actually a biblical era marketing and promotional term literally meaning to seize the day, redeem, buy up. Therefore, not only are we to walk in wisdom toward outsiders, but we also should seize the day and redeem the time for Christ.
So how are you living your life? What does your walk look like? Are you living in wisdom towards outsiders and seizing the time? Are common sense and wise management prominent features of your life?
In closing, let us not take lightly this short but important command to seize the time and walk in wisdom especially towards unbelievers. For as Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, the days are evil. So let us walk carefully and make the best use of the here and now.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”