Redeeming the Time and Colossians 4:5
by Robert Rollock

COLOSSIANS 4:5, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”

Having addressed (brethren) the specific advice given by the Apostle to various groups of men and women, particularly those living in the same family and household, we revisited the broader guidance applicable to individuals of all statuses, whether high or low, poor or rich, rulers and subjects, employers and employees, applicable to everyone. The initial broad instruction we explored in our last meeting, with God’s help, focused on the urging towards prayer and the importance of persisting in prayer. It’s insufficient to merely pray; one must continue steadfastly in prayer, fervently and constantly, for such is the need when one considers their deficiencies. Alongside persistent prayer, he emphasizes vigilance, which essentially means fervency and eagerness in prayer with a passionate longing; otherwise, it’s an affront to God to engage half-heartedly, and such disrespect will be met with consequences, rendering one’s prayers ineffectual.

Then, moving from general to personal requests, he implores them to pray for him as well, acknowledging his own great need as he was imprisoned for the Gospel’s sake, which hindered him from freely proclaiming the mystery of Jesus Christ. This mystery is nothing but the Gospel concealed within a mystery for the comfort and salvation of humankind.

Turning to our text, we encounter another comprehensive exhortation: to conduct oneself wisely. Simply put, it’s a call to apply wisdom in all actions and endeavors. What benefit is there in any action if it is not carried out wisely? But let’s examine the phrase as the Lord enables us. “Walk,” he says, a term frequently advocated over remaining idle or stagnant, emphasizing activity and engagement. The Christian life in Christ Jesus is not about idleness or lethargy but about movement and progress. We are pilgrims, always meant to be moving forward, and if we rest, it should be brief and always with the journey in mind. Our calling involves active engagement and labor here, with the promise of rest after this life reserved for those who have diligently worked in the Lord’s vineyard, always mindful to live in a manner that does not offend God. Thus, true Christians are far from lazy or inactive; they are the most industrious of all, as exemplified by the Apostle who did not merely stroll leisurely through life but ran as in a race, focusing solely on the goal without distraction.

Therefore, it’s not sufficient to be busy; the nature of one’s activities matters greatly, for some are better off idle than engaged in their harmful deeds. How, then, should one walk? Wisely, as further elaborated in his letter to the Ephesians: with care, thoughtfulness, and diligence, not foolishly but as wise individuals. Wisdom is granted by the Lord to navigate every step carefully, ensuring that one’s life as a Christian is a testament to God’s grace, observing all circumstances including time, place, and the people involved.

This call to wisdom is particularly vital for those in leadership or teaching positions within the church, as their actions are closely observed by the world. Paul’s guidance to Timothy emphasizes the necessity for wisdom in all things, a wisdom that is pure and sincere, not characterized by worldly cunning but by simplicity and integrity.

The Apostle Paul’s own life illustrates the balance between the wisdom of the serpent and the innocence of the dove, especially when facing opposition and accusations. His ability to navigate complex situations while maintaining his integrity and proclaiming the truth of the Gospel is a model for us all.

Wisdom in our walk is fundamentally about understanding and aligning with God’s will, which guides our actions towards righteousness. In contrast, following our own desires and reasoning often leads to folly and regret. This wisdom also extends to how we interact with those outside the faith, conducting ourselves in a manner that neither gives offense nor compromises our testimony, mindful of the impact our actions have on others’ perceptions of the Gospel.

Moreover, wisdom involves seizing opportunities for good, especially in these challenging times when doing so might require significant sacrifice. The urgency of making the most of the time given to us for the sake of the Gospel cannot be overstated, as we do not know how long this window of grace will remain open.

In conclusion, let us strive for this wisdom in our walk, in our dealings with both those within and without the faith, ever vigilant to the opportunities God presents us to testify to His grace and truth. May the Lord strengthen us in these endeavors, for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ, to whom, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, belongs all glory and praise, now and forever,



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