By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 11, 2008
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (2 Timothy 2:22-24)
My father used to say that “There is nothing more dangerous than a 14-year-old. They not only think they know it all, they are sure they do!” Of course when I was younger, say back in the ancient days of when I was 14-years-old, I hated to hear that because I “knew” better! We find Paul including this interesting comment to Timothy: “Flee the evil desires of youth.” Why? I believe Timothy had some inclinations that all young people do that were not necessarily beneficial or spiritual in nature. And, remember from yesterday, that Paul wanted Timothy to be one of those vessels in God’s house that was used for noble purposes.
Youth is wrapped up in of themselves. The world revolves around their emotions, wants, and desires. Either the whole world is conspiring against them in becoming mature adults or the whole world does not appreciate their new and exciting insights. “In fact,” youth tells us that “if you just would allow me as a youth to get in the last word, you would all of sudden be illuminated and see just how intelligent and open-minded I am! After all, you being so old and decrepit could not possibly see it through new eyes.” Perhaps this is why Paul bluntly tells Timothy: “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
Perhaps Timothy had to have that “last” word? My brother did and it got him into more trouble with my father than I could ever recount to you. Not that I myself was negligent in expressing my own opinion. (I know you may find this difficult to believe!) I could slice and dice up fellow students with a deftness that only rivaled the parries and thrusts of a master swordsman. And this is the problem with much of Christianity: We are more interested in our being right, than allowing God to do His miraculous work in the life of an individual. “Foolish and stupid arguments” always “produce quarrels.” Remember, “the Lord knows those who are His.” In fact, He is more than capable of handling any situation if we would only allow Him to. Too many Christians think that when Paul told Timothy to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth,” that this is a free license to kill all opponents with “the sword of the Lord,” the Word of God!
Arguing about stupid things never shows you as “one approved” that “correctly handles the word of truth.” Truth, God’s truth, the gospel of Jesus is founded and based on God’s love for the whole world. It expresses itself in the love of Christ who gave Himself up for our sins. This is why Paul would add that “the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” in their conduct or arguing.
Dear child of the Lord, I am speaking as much to myself as I am to you but we all must work at showing the love of God before we can explain the Word of God to others. How else will they understand the truth of the gospel? After all, “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26) Today do not get caught up in stupid arguments but keep things in perspective and speak the word of truth in love.
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