See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy. 

 

How did the Colossians get so off track?   They had learned that salvation comes through Jesus’ death and resurrection, but some of them were being swayed by false teachings.   Paul called these teachings not only “empty” but “seductive” (Colossians 2:8).   They had a way of drawing people in.

Every age has its own seductive philosophies that have the potential to lead people away from Christ.   We might encounter one as we interact with a coworker or while we’re talking with a relative at a family party.   So how can we respond?

You may be tempted to overreact to what you hear and start arguing or quoting Scripture verses or Church doctrines.   But even if you feel that you have something important to say, this is usually not an effective strategy.   It’s likely to cause the other person to dismiss you and whatever you have to offer.

What if you tried, instead, to simply listen and ask questions?   You could ask how the person came to this conclusion and why they believe it.   Or you could try to find a point of mutual agreement between what they believe and your own faith in Christ.

These kinds of conversations, marked by sincerity and kindness, build trust.   And trust is what builds bridges between people.   If someone begins to respect and trust you, they will be more open to hearing about your own views and beliefs.   Who knows?   As your friendship grows, that person may actually want to hear about Jesus and how he has changed your life.

Finally, don’t forget to pray.   Ask Jesus to guide the person and open their mind to him.   Pray also that God will help you to grow in love for your friend and in your ability to see him as God sees him.   Scholars tell us that Paul probably never met the Colossians, but he still loved them.   After all, that’s why he wrote this letter to them—because he cared for them.

This kind of outreach is very much one step at a time.   It involves sowing what can look like small seeds, where you don’t see a conversion in a single conversation.   But just think: every seed you sow can bring that person one step closer to Christ!

“Jesus, teach me to treat people who don’t yet know you with the same love that you have for them.”

Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11
Luke 6:12-19

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