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. 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.
Foolish and stupid arguments are to be avoided because they produce quarrels, and those serving the Lord must not quarrel. Quarrelling is the disrespectful exchange of ideas. It is fighting. It takes some pride and arrogance to quarrel because you’ll only fight for ideas that you’re convinced that you are right about. We have an aversion to being wrong or being wronged – and so we fight. We quarrel. Stupid arguments lead into this. Foolishness breeds quarrelling. It’s not to be present in the life of the Lord’s servant because we are to reflect Jesus, who, while never wrong, was severely wronged! He was humbled to the point of death on a cross. His servants are to be like Him!
Paul teaches Timothy that instead of quarrelsome, the servant of Jesus must be kind to everyone. He or she needs to be able to teach and not be resentful. If we trace resentfulness back, eventually, for the one who serves Christ, it will land at Jesus’ feet. Because we belong to Him, the circumstances and the way He has led us contribute to the place in life we find ourselves in… the thing we can be resentful of – it’s Jesus’ fault! Even the sins of others He allowed to happen, right? To be resentful denies His Lordship and cheapens our identity in Christ. As His servants we need to worship Him for what He has done and believe the truth about our future, not denying that He is always working for our good… even when we cannot see it. We need to trust! We are His servants. We also need to be able to teach others with our words and godly life about this way of Christ. If people oppose you… when people oppose you, “gently instruct them in hope that God will grant them repentance.” How intriguing! It is not our responsibility or in our ability to change people’s hearts or bring them to repentance. We gently teach and allow God to do what only He can do. In this there is great freedom. We teach and instruct and lead them to the knowledge of the truth (which is plenty for us to do!), but it is in their own relationship with God that will bring them to repentance. As it is now with their selfishness and quarrelling, they are trapped by the devil who has taken them captive to do his will.
There is SO much spiritual power and authority in Christ that I as His servant do not need to get emotionally revved up. No, in fact that can actually neutralize my effectiveness for Jesus. In battling for the spiritual well being of people I am gentle and kind. This does more damage to the kingdom of darkness than raising my voice and jumping up and down! The quiet confidence found in my identity in Christ wields a mighty weight that can help set people free.
Lord Jesus, I worship You today. Thank You for this way of life and the privilege of serving You. I am complete in You! Thank You for releasing me from the need to be liked by people. Free of that need, I am able to fully serve them… and You! Be glorified in me today.