In Chapter 3, Paul told us to take off our old man and put on the new man. We should put on, “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” Believe it or not, these things are immediately visible to others around us. Our demeanor, our appearance, makes our “clothing” readily apparent. Paul turns to the importance of our dress in regards to outsiders.  This is not a derogatory term as some suggest.  It probably refers to those not in our group. Of course, that’s what we’d natural get from the word “outsider.”

Verse 5 of Chapter 4 teaches us that we should “walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” “Walk” is often used in reference to conduct or lifestyle. We should live our lives thoughtfully around unbelievers. We should be exemplary in every area of our lives. The King James correctly translates the next phrase as “redeeming” the time. But the idea is the same. It means every contact counts. I think Paul is emphasizing the well worn saying “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

Let me get real personal. People’s first impressions are always visual. The most immediate first impression we make on others in our first contact is our dress and appearance. One writer said, “The impressions made in the first three seconds are so vivid that it takes another three minutes to add fifty percent more impression—whether negative or positive. Since those first three seconds are almost entirely visual, our appearance determines the immediate receptivity of our audience. So if we make a poor first impression, even before we open our mouth, it takes a long time and a lot of work to overcome it.”


“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders. Make the most of every opportunity.”