Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:5–6—NKJV)

With the arrival of warm weather, driving through town with the windows rolled down has alerted me to the further degradation of our culture. Simply waiting at a red light or driving into a parking lot, you just cannot help but overhear car radios blaring out graceless drivel, if not downright blatant offensiveness, that passes for music and entertainment for so many of our fellow Americans. One driver this week was passing his time listening to an “artist” boasting in rhymes he had a “dirty mouth,” which he then attempted to justify.

Isn’t it starkly significant that Psalm 12:4 states, “Who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are our own; who is lord over us?’” No authentic believer ought to be assaulting his mind willingly with such offensiveness to the indwelling Spirit of God. Instead, he ought to honor the words of Psalm 141:3–4, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.” One thing is for sure, what goes in to the mind through the senses will alter your thinking and will also have an impact on your speech.

The contrasting purpose of the believer’s speech is to be eternity-measured and redemptively governed rather than reactive, fleeting, temporal, or flippantly entertaining. A Christian is obligated to study how to craft his speech so that it is “always with grace seasoned with salt.” In the context, Paul had just gotten through requesting prayer in his behalf so that his words might clearly declare the “mystery of Christ.” The Colossian believers, too, must “walk in wisdom to those who are outside” the family of God. This means their speech must be carefully cultivated so that it adroitly and specifically answers questions of each “outsider” with whom they have contact.

Such refined and artistically-crafted speech will be gracious and seasoned. Gracious speech is not only speech that is on a mission to direct the hearer into the grace of God, but it is also speech that is full of grace, both in its rich ministry to the heart and in its freely given words while expecting nothing in return. Such words are given as an extension of the Grace of God acting through you.

Let us not forget the seasoning! Seasoning with salt, as the text puts it, is designed to make the meat of the words pure, healthy, palatable and savory. What would otherwise be bland and dull now becomes winsome, enlivened, and memorable. With what should your speech be salted? I believe the answer is plainly God’s Word. As a matter of fact, learning to salt your conversation with Scriptural phrases and metaphors is a good idea. There are still phrases that linger in our culture that come directly from Scripture. Do not be surprised when a Scriptural figure of speech peppered into your conversation will cause someone to take note of what you have said. They may even ask where the phrase came from and you will be ready “to answer each one.”

Think of the richness of biblical phrases such as the handwriting on the wall, a sign of the times, a thorn in the flesh, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, an eye for an eye, as white as snow, as old as Methuselah, what you will sow you will also reap, ashes to ashes, for everything there is a season, by the skin of your teeth, see eye to eye, go the extra mile, all things to all men, give up the ghost, fall from grace, fight the good fight, heart’s desire, holier than thou, how are the mighty fallen, to whom much is given much is required, law unto themselves, labor of love, let there be light, twinkling of an eye, letter of the law, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, no rest for the wicked, many are called but few are chosen, O ye of little faith, pearls before swine, red sky at night shepherds delight, set your teeth on edge, soft answer turns away wrath, sweat of your brow, apple of your eye, it is better to give than to receive, good Samaritan, ends of the earth, love of money is the root of all evil, salt of the earth, straight and narrow, spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, the way of all flesh, wash your hands of the matter, my brother’s keeper, weighed in the balance and found wanting, fly in the ointment, the blind leading the blind, spare the rod and spoil the child, scapegoat, put your house in order, let your yes be yes and your no be no, and nothing new under the sun.

Learn these phrases, incorporate them into your speech, and attach this phrase before them, “As the Bible says….” You will soon be speaking with grace seasoned with salt and someone who needs it will take note! By the way, be sure to find out where these phrases came from in the Scriptures so you are ready to answer the curious! Trust and obey.