Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5
All around the world in every nation and every city or community, there will be people who are outsiders. These are people who have moved into the area from some other location. This location can be from the same country, maybe only a few miles down the road, or from across the ocean. Regardless of where they come from, they are outsiders.
When these outsiders come from another nation, they are called immigrants. There is currently lots of discussion on how to treat those immigrants and what should or should not be done with them. Some want to kick them out, some what to put them in jail, and others want to let them stay.
The same problems arise with people who are outsiders coming around the church. These are people who are not believers. How does one in the church act towards them?
Often many believers treat them with distrust and hatred, not giving them an opportunity to know Jesus.
Paul says that the believer must be wise in how one acts towards them and to make the most of every opportunity.
Wisdom can be seen in being careful in choosing the words and actions spoken. Every believer is supposed to be a witness of who Jesus is and a representative of His great love and mercy towards others. This takes great wisdom from God to know.
The believer is to take every opportunity he can to show God’s love to the outsider–the non-believer, the world. This can only be done with love, mercy and grace in both words and actions.
Every day and at every moment there are many opportunities to be a witness to an outsider. More than half the world is an outsider to God.
Instead of being afraid of an outsider, find ways to reach out in love to the outsider. Take a look at what you are saying and doing around the outsider. Are your actions and words drawing them or pointing them to Jesus? Or are your actions and words pushing them away from Jesus?
Allow God to open your eyes to the many opportunities that come your way each day. Grab every opportunity you can to be His witness. Draw in as many outsiders into His kingdom as you can. That is the goal of Jesus.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for all people; that God will guide you in what to say and do around others; that you will show God’s love and mercy to all people; and that you will be filled with God’s wisdom.
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. Romans 16:19
Paul is rejoicing over the what he has heard about the Romans. They were being obedient to God’s word. They were striving to live Godly lives as Jesus did.
Even though they were being obedient, Paul added something to that. He wanted them to be wise about what is good and innocent of anything that is evil.
Being wise is having the correct information and knowing what to do with it. Many people can know a lot of information, but do not correctly use it. There have been people in the church who know the laws of God, but use those laws to condemn or cut down people, instead of pointing them to Jesus to save them.
Over the years there has been believers who were violent against non-believers and would kill them because of sin. This was not using any wisdom in how to reach the lost for Jesus.
Along with using good wisdom, Paul said that they must be innocent of evil. This can be innocent of doing evil and knowing what is evil.
The world thrives on seeing and doing evil. They cannot get enough of it. That is their nature, but Christians should be different.
There are some believers that tend to purposely live in some sin or they are constantly watching sin and enjoying it. Knowing the commands God has given is all that a person needs to know about sin. The less a person knows about sin, the less chances there are for him to be tempted to sin.
Filling oneself with evil things, only pushes God out of the picture and one’s life.
As a believer strive to keep yourself pure of any evil. This is pure in action, thought, word, and sight. And do not use your knowledge of good and evil to condemn or cut a person down. Show God’s love and mercy. Use good to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus and flee from all evil.
God can and will give you the wisdom you need to keep you pure and from all evil, if you allow Him to.
Living in this way will be true obedience to God’s word. Jesus came to save the world, not condemn the world.
Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9
Hosea finishes out this book with telling whoever is wise and discerning to understand the ways of the Lord. Those who will be righteous and following God will walk in the ways of the Lord. Those who are rebellious will only stumble in the ways of the Lord.
Often the ways of God are very strange to a person. On the surface many of the things that God has done in the past does not always make sense, until it is looked at from a bigger picture or afterwards.
Looking at the bible, why would God take the Israelites out of the desert and trap them between an impassable body of water and the enemy?
Why would God tell David he is the next king, then make him wait 30 years to become king?
Why would God tell Hosea to marry a prostitute?
Why would God have the Messiah, who was supposed to reign forever, die on a cross?
It is easy now to look back at each of those events and see what God was doing and why. It makes sense, when the end picture is also seen.
However, in day-to-day living right now, one cannot see the end, and often, not even the big picture. God asks people to do things that do not always make sense. He allows things in the lives of a person that appear to be horrible and wrong. God asks a believer to give all he has. God asks one to forgive and love the enemy.
If you are wise and discerning, you will be able to know that ALL the ways of the Lord are right. He is perfect in all that He does. If you want to be righteous, you will walk in them.
Those who are rebellious will find every reason to not walk in God’s ways. They will reject the things of God. They will claim to love God, but refuse to love and forgive their enemy. The ways of God will appear to be foolish to them and they will reject them.
Are you being wise and discerning today?
I pray today that you will know the ways of God; that you will trust the ways of God; that you will obey all of God’s directions to you; and that you will be wise and discerning of the path God has for your life.