HOW TO FIGHT WELL
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise” (Psa. 51:17).
Read 1 Timothy 1:12–20
The Lord’s Grace to Paul
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Charge to Timothy Renewed
18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow would you prepare for a confrontation?
How would you feel being charged with the task of standing up to false teachers with positions of influence, and a following, within a church? A little nervous perhaps? A strong sense of calling to join the church down the road?! And what would best prepare you for fighting the battle (18)? These verses act as Paul’s pep talk to Timothy. But, surprisingly, it’s not “marshal your arguments” and “get others to back you up,” but this: remember the incredible mercy of God for sinners!
Paul offers himself as an example for Timothy, and for us all (16). The example is not of knowledge, or skill or strength, but of utter humility and dependence on God. “There is nothing good in me,” Paul says (15), “but Jesus chose me to make the point that if he can save me, he can save anyone (16)! So, Timothy, this command to oppose false teaching (3,18)—do it with that kind of humility, do it with a heart captivated by God’s mercy towards you (17) and do it not to win the argument, but to win them to eternal life” (16; 2 Tim. 2:25,26).
How does your attitude compare to Paul’s when you disagree with other Christians? Think of a disagreement you may have. How could you plan your entire response on showing love?
Spend some time praying for these people now.
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