Reflecting Jesus: “Gracious and Sprinkled with Insight”

Reflecting Jesus: “Gracious and Sprinkled with Insight” June 18, 2024

Photo by Evi Odioko on Unsplash

How do we reflect Jesus’ presence and work in our lives? “Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight…”

Scripture:       

1 Kings, chapter 22; 2 Chronicles, chapters 18-19; Colossians, chapter 4

Colossians 4:1-6 (CEB):

Masters, be just and fair to your slaves, knowing that you yourselves have a master in heaven.

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray for us also. Pray that God would open a door for the word so we can preach the secret plan of Christ – which is why I’m in chains. Pray that I might be able to make it as clear as I ought to when I preach. Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person.

Observations: “Whatever You Do…”

The first sentence of today’s reading is a carry-over from the end of chapter 3. Starting in verse 18, Paul instructs us in the proper way to relate to each other – wives and husbands (verses 18-19), children and parents (verses 20-21), and slaves and masters (3:22 – 4:1). It’s important for us to recognize that these challenges are reciprocal – when husbands love their wives, the wives recognize the husbands’ authority in the home; when parents don’t provoke their children, the children are more likely to obey.

We should also understand “slaves and masters” in the sense of “employees and employers.” Another way to view this is to see the “masters” as those in authority, and the “slaves” as those who are subject to that authority. Paul confirms this understanding in 4:1, when he says, “knowing that you yourselves have a master in heaven.” When we have authority, we should treat those subject to that authority with respect and love. Likewise, we should treat those who are in authority over us with respect.

There are several passages in the New Testament which extend this command to those who are in governmental authority over us. We are to submit to their authority, and to pray for them – even when we don’t agree with them.  That’s a hard thing for many people to grasp and accept! But if Peter could tell us to submit and pray for the ruling authorities when that “ruling authority” was Nero, the command probably still applies today! Why? Because as Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him” (emphasis added).

Gracious and Sprinkled with Insight

The call to do whatever we do in the name of Jesus helps us to understand the rest of today’s passage. First, keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving.  “Guard your prayers with thanksgiving” is a firm reminder that we must not view prayer as simply our “wish list” for God. When we start with thanksgiving for what God has done, we orient our minds correctly toward Him. We can trust God, even when we don’t understand how He is at work. And we can be thankful each day for the day. “This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, NASB).

As we pray, we should pray for God’s kingdom to advance

  • “Pray that God would open a door for the word…
  • Pray that I might make it as clear as I ought to when I preach
  • Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity

Bringing that thought to a close, Paul challenges us: “Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person.

How do we do that? The Holy Spirit guides us, just as Jesus promised (John 16:13). Our recognition of God’s blessings reminds us to be gracious, because God has been gracious to us. The Holy Spirit gives us the insight we need to appropriately represent Jesus to everyone we meet. How should we interact with others? Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight. Not just to our friends; to everyone we meet.

Application: Gracious and Sprinkled with Insight

“Well, Rick, that’s hard!” Of course it is. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit’s help to do it! Apart from the Spirit’s indwelling presence, cleansing us and empowering us, we can’t do it. The selfish sinful nature rears its ugly head, because apart from the Holy Spirit’s work all of our “kindness” is tainted by self-interest. We do nice things because we want people to view us favorably. We extend grace with an expectation of quid pro quo. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

God calls us beyond all that. We do what is right because it’s a reflection of what Jesus has done for us. “Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” We don’t just love those who love us; we love because God loved us first. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (MSG), love doesn’t keep score.

When we are subject to authority, we respond with grace. Grace colors our speech, our actions, and our attitudes. Why? Because we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus! “From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace; as the Law was given through Moses, so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17).

Prayer:

Father, we confess that it is a challenge for us to submit to authority – even when we agree with those in authority! It’s also a challenge for us to exercise authority with grace. Guard us against the selfishness that seeks to “even the score” when we have the opportunity. Judgment belongs to you. Vengeance is yours, not ours.

Help us to recognize your grace so that our lives may be gracious and sprinkled with insight.  Both grace and insight come from you. Help us to recognize and respond to your leading today, that we may glorify you.  Amen.

 

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