II TIMOTHY 2:24-26: “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone. He must be a good teacher. He must be willing to suffer wrong. He must be gentle in correcting those who oppose the Good News. Maybe God will allow them to change the way they think and act and lead them to know the truth. Then they might come back to their senses and God will free them from the devil’s snare so that they can do his will.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I secure in the Truth? Am I walking in the love and compassion of Christ? Am I more interested in seeing someone set free from the devil’s snare than I am in proving that I am right? These are important questions that I am asking myself as I read these verses in II Timothy. In the midst of a very heated political and election cycle, those who are followers of Jesus Christ need to stop and check both their hearts, their speech, and their motives.
Paul reminds Timothy – “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel.” The Greek word translated quarrel literally means – “hand to hand combat”. In this context it refers to a war of words, or an argument. And from the context, and the call, it is a war of words that is marked by insensitivity and anger. As I read posts on Facebook I see this all the time. People’s emotions are running at an all time high, and it is easy to get pulled into the fight. Yet, the believer should definitely take a different posture. I know for myself – it is time for a heart check up!
Paul reminds Timothy of some important qualities that must be evident in the heart and actions of a believer.
– We must be kind to everyone. This includes those who agree with us and those who don’t. It also included those who are kind to us, and those who are not. Jesus calls us to love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us, treat us with disrespect, and the intend to bring harm.
– We are to be good teachers. This is a call to abide in God’s Word and have an answer for those who call to question the hope that is within us. It is not a call to use the Bible as a club in beating someone over the head with the truth! It is a call to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit as we share the truth. We must remember that we too once did not understand God’s Word – until we came to Christ and the Holy Spirit opened our eyes. A good teacher remembers that it is only the Holy Spirit that can convict one’s heart of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
– We must be willing to suffer wrong. This is a call to suffer for what is right. The world will not receive our words with open arms. The light is a threat to the darkness. Jesus was very clear – “People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed.” (John 3:20 GW). So, when we suffer wrong for the Gospel’s sake, we are to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer as did our Lord Jesus Christ! We don’t enter into the fight to get even.
– We must be gentle in correcting those who oppose God’s truth. Why is this so important? The world needs to both see and hear a different spirit. If there is fire, and we add more fuel to it, we are simply adding to the anger and debate. However, if we exhibit the love of God, if we turn the other cheek, if we go the extra mile – people may still reject our words, but they will remember our actions. And we must always remember – actions speak louder than words!
What is the reason we need to take this instruction to heart? The salvation of lost souls depends on it! Jesus came to His own – and His own received Him not. Yet, He was willing to lay down His life so that ALL could believe and find forgiveness of sin, deliverance from the devil, and receive the blessing of eternal life. Paul reminds Timothy,
- “Maybe God will allow them to change the way they think and act and lead them to know the truth. Then they might come back to their senses and God will free them from the devil’s snare so that they can do his will.”
The Lord is looking for men and women who will be lights in this darkened world of anger and quarreling. We are called to rise above the petty arguments of the day in truth and in love. And we are called to pay the price for this stand – because what is at stake is not our opinions, it is the salvation of lost souls and their deliverance from the lies and control of the enemy! Is it any wonder why the enemy is pulling so many people into the mud or quarreling so that he can keep those who are lost blinded from the truth that works through love – the Gospel truth – salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ!
Lord, keep my heart directed toward You in these challenging and heated times. Forgive me for the times I have succumbed to the temptation of jumping into the fight. Help me to rise above the quarreling and live a life in Your light – by speaking the truth in love. May I be willing to suffer wrong, to be misunderstood, and to forfeit the argument – so that just one person may encounter Your love and come to the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ!
Open my eyes to love, and open the eyes of those in darkness to Your marvelous light!
In Jesus Name!