v5 – “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
What is the motive in the life of a believer? What is the motive of your life? What is the goal of your new life in Christ? These questions are essential in addressing your outlook on many aspects of your walk with God. How you view the purpose of your life, especially in reference to the Lord, is going to determine so many things, from your level of obedience to your experience in worship. Answering these questions, aside from the work of the Holy Spirit, may be the most important factor in the vitality of your faith.
Do you view life as a party to be enjoyed; shirking everything you can in order to have fun? Are you looking to have as much fun as possible while you are on this earth? Are you trying to fill your life with exciting experiences and amazing adventures? Is your Christian walk about experiencing as much of God as you can in this world’s pleasures?
If this is your perspective, you will struggle in the faith, for the Christian life is not ultimately about fun. It’s not about getting as much enjoyment out of life as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much about fun as the next guy. I’m all about having a good time and enjoying the fruits of this world. And the Christian life can most definitely be fun, to a greater extent than a life apart from God. But that cannot be the goal of our lives. Our life in Christ is much more important than merely experiencing what the world has to offer, even if it is done in a God-honoring way. Life is not just a party to be enjoyed.
The Bible refers to us as “ambassadors of Christ.” Have you heard that term before? What is the role of an ambassador? To represent the agent who has sent him. So if we are ambassadors of Christ, we are to represent Christ who sent us. We are to take his message to those to whom he has sent us; and those people would be “all nations.” Our new life is about spreading God’s message of redeeming love to a world desperately searching for answers. Our new quest is to share God’s love to a world desperately in want of it. This is the reason we have been left in the world after our salvation: to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). This is the new purpose of our lives.
Two questions you may be asking: Why is this distinction important? And what does it have to do with the verse quoted above? This distinction is important to make because it will determine how you react to things that happen to you. If life is still all about fun, you are not going to be as willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. When difficulty or persecution arises in your walk, you may be more likely to abandon the faith in search of a more “fun” lifestyle than stick it out. It simply won’t be worth it to you.
But that’s not life with Christ. Christ did not save us from a boring life to a more exciting one. He saved us from death, so that we might live. Believing in Christ is not about increasing your happiness; it’s about increasing your holiness. When you take the new perspective that life is about spreading a message of redemption, difficulty becomes easier to accept. In this mindset, a difficult life is not a failure; it’s merely the cost of fulfilling your purpose. You will then be more likely to withstand the pressures and testing, and to be presented before the Lord holy and blameless.
Now, how does this relate to the verse above? Paul tells the Colossians to “make the most of every opportunity.” If you have the wrong perspective, you may think this means to make the most of every opportunity to have fun. But he’s not saying that. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” Be smart in the way you interact with the lost. Be intentional in the conversations you have with people at your school. Take every chance you get to share the message of God’s love. Take every conceivable chance to let them know of their sin, of its price, and of the overwhelming grace and love of God. Let that be your outlook on every situation now. Not, how do I make this situation better; but how do I spread the Gospel in this situation. And sometimes it’s not done with words, but merely by showing the love of Christ to someone. Be wise in the way you share; but make the most of every opportunity.
This is my charge to us: let the Gospel be our focus. Let the cause of Christ become our cause, our one and only cause. May we run and fight and struggle to spread the message of God’s redeeming, saving love. And in doing that, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1b).