November 3

2 Timothy 2:24-26 24And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Paul was teaching Timothy to walk in his calling as an elder. Paul had learned from many debates with legalistic Jews that quarrels aren't fruitful. As someone has said, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." If the discussion becomes heated, someone is unwilling to listen, and both parties are wasting their time.

Instead of being argumentative, God's servants should be kind to everyone, able to teach, and not resentful. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. When we are unkind, it is a clue that we are in the flesh. The elders should be able to teach. An elder may not have teaching as his main gift, but he should know the Word well enough to teach it. When the church passes up this qualification, we set ourselves up for problems. Freedom from resentment means the person is ready to forgive, knowing that God has freely forgiven him.

We will always face opposition. Paul told Timothy that the proper response was gentle instruction. Gentleness turns away wrath. Our hope is that our opposition will be saved. There are so many testimonies of love winning over those who persecute believers. The only way we can possibly do that is to realize that these people have fallen into the trap of the devil. They are captured slaves doing Satan's will. In this war over the souls of men, everything we do and say should be with the hope of setting the captives free. Our natural response will push them further into the trap, but a spiritual response would be to extend a loving hand to draw them to freedom. Only the life of the Spirit in us can cause us to react in the way Paul has described.

Remember: Quarreling is unproductive, but love never fails.