“Live wisely among those who are not believers.” Col 4:5
Yesterday I emphasized the “among” in this verse. Today I want to explore the idea of living wisely. While we live among those who don’t believe, the scripture charges us to “live wisely.”
J. I. Packer said, “Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Wisdom is, in fact, the practical side of moral goodness. As such, it is found in its fulness only in God. He alone is naturally and entirely and invariable wise.”
So what does that look like when we live it? Well, I know what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like the way the world looks.
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) observed the worldly trends in our culture, “We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone… [We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.”
It’s funny that Jesus lived the example of a life of total service to others, getting by on minimal material possessions, and putting spiritual things above even eating. Yet the lives of many of His followers are characterized by worry, overwhelming debt, bitter marriages, unruly children, a general dissatisfaction with their station in life, and even immorality. Our friends hear us swear, gossip and complain. This shouldn’t be so.
I love what Col. 2:20 says, “You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world?” Good question!
In our striving for passing pleasures we sacrifice our example to those who haven’t met Jesus yet. We relinquish our testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit when we live morally corrupt lives.
It is so crazy to me that Paul urged people to give up food or drink that caused others to stumble (Rom 14 & 1 Cor 10), but some who claim Christ put their stake in the ground to claim their rights. Some of us assert freedom to watch movies based on sin, be in questionable situations with the opposite sex or indulge the flesh.
Remember this, “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others” (1 Cor 10:23-24).
Let’s start taking our responsibility to “live wisely” more seriously. Let’s commit to living and representing the life of Christ to those who don’t believe. Let’s look out for the good of others before ourselves!