Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. —Colossians 4:5-6
There are two people I’ve gotten to know better than almost anyone besides my immediate family and my prayer group. One is a woman at work, and one is a neighbor who lives two doors down. One is a Christian, and one is not. The reason I’ve gotten to know them so well is that they are my walking partners. With one, I walk once a week on my lunch hour; with the other, I walk on weekends or summer evenings. We put on our old walking shoes, wear a jacket in cool weather, and spend about an hour stretching our legs—and talking with each other.
These weekly conversations have opened windows for us into each other’s lives. I have been able to share my faith, as well as the daily enjoyments and frustrations of life. I have had ample opportunity to let my conversation be “full of grace, seasoned with salt,” to my neighbor who is outside the church, as well as to my sister in Christ at work.
Conversations with both of these friends are a pleasure and an encouragement. With my neighbor I talk about gardening, crime prevention efforts in our neighborhood, our struggles with parenting teenage children, neighbors whose son is dying of AIDS, and sometimes even the frequent hypocrisy and close-mindedness of “religious” people. I also pray especially before walking with her—perhaps because I know that ultimately so much is at stake. I pray that God will accompany us with his Spirit and will give me wisdom as I talk. I have prayed that my neighbor will ask questions that provide an opening for me to share what I’ve learned about God through the Bible and through my own life as a Christian. I pray that I will not be afraid to have “salty” conversation—in other words, to say things that are distinctly different from the way the rest of the world looks at life.
Sometimes I feel a bit inadequate in this. What if my neighbor’s knowledge of the Christian faith is based entirely on her acquaintance with me? I remember the Apostle Paul’s words: “Who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:16). But I also remember Paul’s encouragement from the same passage: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2:14). It’s comforting to know that God has chosen weak and flawed believers like me to be salt and light to unbelievers, and that he provides what is needed for such work.
The verses from Colossians 4 above assume, of course, that there will be opportunities for conversation between you and “outsiders.” Have you made time in your life for such opportunities? Are you willing to do so? You may be the only salt and light that they come into contact with. (Written by Edith Bajema, contributor to Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood).
Father, You have given me friendships and placed me in situations with others for the sake of Your purposes. Show me how to live a salt and light kind of life each and every day so that my neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers and others will come to know Jesus because they have come to know me. Please equip me for every conversation with the power and strength of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You can work through weak, flawed people like me so that others might receive eternal life.
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God that he is absolutely holy; that there is no sin in him at all. Thank him for making you holy through the blood of Jesus Christ. Confess any known sin that is contrary to God’s will. Commit to his lordship in every area of life. Ask that in all you are facing, your faithful God will “not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear,” but will always “provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Pray that your Christian example may encourage others to seek the Lord. Ask that you will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).
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