God’s commands can imply specific actions for individuals to take, attitudes to maintain, or general principles for living. There are principles to apply among believers and in dealing with the world, or “outsiders” (1 Cor 5:12, 13; 1 Thes 4:12; 1 Tim 3:7).
Unbelievers slandered the early Christians. Because the Christians had no visible gods, they were called atheists; because they would not burn incense before the emperor’s image, they were called unpatriotic; and because they met behind locked doors, they were called immoral. In a critical world, the gospel’s credibility will depend on believers who live in light of what they believe dispite the accusations.
Paul’s instruction for the response to these false accusations was to “be continually conducting yourselves with wisdom,” as opposed to impulsive, foolish responses, or changing standards to avoid criticism. The verb means to “walk, live, or behave in a customary manner.” If believers are seen to live as fools, whatever they claim will be seen as meaningless.
The opposite of wisdom living is to be led by foolish thoughts. For example, it is foolish for believers to live for money: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim 6:9).
Foolishness is common to all men: “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Society cannot dictate our morality.
Living wisely also involves “making the most of the opportunities.” As Moses wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom” (Psa 90:12). Jesus said, “Night is coming, when no man can work” (Jn 9:4); “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). When unselfish living is observed, the gospel gains credibility. Unselfish living reflects an unselfish God.
“Heavenly Father, if Your word ‘dwells richly’ in me, I will be guided by Your wisdom to be effective in every part of my life and ministry for the sake of those who need to know You. This is my desire to honor Your Name in life.”