Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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May 11 – The Gentle Warfare

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Tim. 2:22-26

Devotional Thought For The Day

This “posture” and “protocol” insisted upon by the apostle Paul for those who are “servants” of the Lord does not sit well with most of us. We would rather project the power and might of God, His prerogatives, and pound on those who are opposed to what is good and right, what God’s Word teaches, and remind them of the coming wrath of God.  We feel that representatives of God should project His ascendency, power, and glory.  However, those seeking to truly serve the Lord should look again at this instruction, and understand more clearly what our Master’s will is in all of this.

The goal is that “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,” that “they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil.” We all want them to quit doing the devil’s will – but God is also concerned about them, their heart, their eternal soul, their being. Harshness, projecting superiority and power and sanctimony, wont’ get this job done.  Rather, to do so is entering into the “ignorant controversies” and exacerbating the quarrels. In contradistinction, the servant of the Lord “must” be “kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” Those of us trained in competition of all kinds can hardly look at this as “winning.” But now you see how “ego” figures into this and we’re reminded that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” [James 1:20]

So, are we simply to sit around looking like a bunch of wimps?  Absolutely not – we are to be “correcting” our opponents, but with “gentleness,” being kind to everyone.  Will we look like wimps to others, and will we be subjected to abuse?  Certainly, but we must be prepared to “patiently endure evil” without striking back and engaging in evil ourselves.  Is this difficult, and are there times that we fail and fall into temptation?  Again, this is certainly so.  But each time we return to the Lord for His gracious mercy, forgiveness, and redeeming love, we are reminded that this is how we are to be toward others – even those who oppose God and themselves, having been “captured” by the devil “to do his will.”

When we think of this as “fighting with one hand tied behind our back,” we have lost sight of the bigger picture, the larger purpose of God’s love – His focus on bringing each individual to repentance and knowledge of the truth of His love. We must faithfully persevere in this battle, never taking a step backwards: correcting, teaching, and instructing in righteousness on the basis of God’s Word, the Scripture, the Bible.  However, we are to do so gently, in keeping with God’s ultimate goals, and consonant with His love for us. This is quite a bit more difficult than simply grasping the truth, and whacking away with it. May God grant us the wisdom, patience, and submission to do His will, and to do it His way.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, there is so much that is wrong and evil in the world, and even within the church. We are tempted to fly into the work of cleaning up the mess with rage and the level of pressure and power needed to cause our opponents to flee. Help us to understand Your patience, and that this is not Your will. Enable us to understand and to carry out the difficult task of remaining faithful, in gentleness, kindness, and compassion for others. Grant them repentance and faith, and free them from the devil’s grasp. Amen.