Where do we live most of our lives? The reality of the Christian life is that, for most of us, we live our lives outside the confines of the Christian community. We live our lives "out there" on the other side of the wall. Here at the end of Colossians (4:4, 5) we see some final apostolic commands that deal with how we ought to live on the other side of the wall.
First, we are to walk wisely when we are walking in the world. But what does walking wisely look like? To walk wisely means that we must deal with certain facts: the world is fallen, the solution to the world's problems is the conversion of the lost, and that the differences between the consistent believer and the unbeliever are so basic that we have a different view of reality and even what the facts are. Nevertheless, the imperative is to walk in such a manner that we consider the "outsiders". This has a two-fold application. First, it means that we must interpret everything in light of God's Word. Secondly, it means that we are always a very personal representation of the claims of the gospel; in other words, be careful about your witness. And when we do this, we are redeeming the time; we are not letting the time given to us fall uselessly to the ground.
Secondly, we are to use gracious speech. It is very common today for people to say whatever enters their head. But this should not characterize our speech. Gracious speech is speech that is joyful, lovely, sweet, kind and good-willed. This does not mean that we use wimpy speech, but when we do speak the truth, we need to consider the unbeliever and how the truth will be received. Sometimes, no matter what we say the truth will be rejected. But we must always be careful to guard against being personally offensive. So salty language that is Christian makes what would otherwise be unpalatable palatable. We should not compromise the truth, but we should also seek to present the truth pleasantly.
Lastly, we are to know how to respond to the unbeliever. This means that our speech needs to take into account the fact that unbelievers struggle to understand even the most basic claims of the gospel. Guard against using jargon that creates further barriers. Sometimes, all we need to say is that Jesus Christ came graciously to save sinners and give us peace with God forever. And notice that the text says that this gracious speech is due to everyone. That means that even as we seek to be gracious when we walk on the other side of the wall, even more so ought we to be gracious on this side. (Colossians 3:8-10)