20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:20-26; NKJV)
I was thinking about standing next to Jesus in our safe house as we discussed earlier in the week and looking at those out in harms way who seem to want to come in but can’t or won’t. I was thinking about why that is and verse 26 came to mind…about how the devil sets snares for us and how he takes us captive and how hard it can be to believe we can be free again. How many people have I talked to who are in this situation.
In reading the verses above, Paul describes how we should be as we abide in Jesus, follow Him and share the gospel in the world. How we should be a vessel of honor, sanctified (set apart for a godly purpose) and be useful to the Master!
In considering this, there are things we should do and things we should avoid.
In terms of our personal conduct, we must cleanse ourselves of false doctrine or what the world wants to teach us; we must flee youthful lusts and mature in the faith past the lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes avoiding wicked associations and wicked conduct.
What we should do is pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace which are qualities we must have if we want to see Jesus and qualities suited for a man of God. We should call on the Lord out of a pure heart together with those who sincerely love God and remember we are not alone. In our personal conduct we must seek both holy conduct and holy associations.
In terms of our interpersonal relations, we should avoid foolish and ignorant disputes that generate strife, bring ruin to the hearers, and increase to more ungodliness. We must not quarrel which is to fight over words (war of words; dispute) avoiding discussions that are little more than word battles.
What we should do is be gentle to all mild or kind, be able to teach (exhort and convict those that contradict), be patient especially in avoiding word battles. We should correct in humility with gentleness, meekness, and mildness even against those that oppose the truth and are ensnared by the devil…they might be just a step away to coming in to safety. We must develop and demonstrate a Christ-like character toward the opposition.
In doing so, they will know exactly what to expect when they step inside the safe house. The same words you have used about Jesus reflect your actions toward Jesus and the actions of those with like-minded faith and they will represent the Savior and who He is in our lives…and will be in theirs. There are a lot of people trapped by satan who want to take that last step into safety…will we have compassion and reach out…just as Jesus reached out to us?