Opponents must be gently instructed, 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. 2 Timothy 2:25-26
The majority of the world is against Christians. They do not believe in God and do not want anything to do with Jesus. There are some who are violently against believers and will get physical in their opposition. The rest just oppose believers in words. Either way they act, they are opponents to those who follow Jesus.
All of these people have been taken captive by the traps of the devil. They are living as the devil desires, doing his will to oppose Jesus.
Many believers are willing to take a stand against those who oppose Christ. The problem is that there have been many who have done so in a way that is not the way Jesus would respond to opponents. They have harshly condemned the opponents, struck them, physically destroyed their property and more.
Jesus rarely used violence. The only time He used a little violence was in the temple against those who were religious, and then it was not against them physically, but against their stuff. Jesus had spoken with kind words almost every time. He worked to draw people to Him, not push them away.
Paul told Timothy to speak gently with his opponents. He is to show love and care to them. Jesus had stated that believers are to love their enemies.
Speaking gently is to speak kind words as one points out where a person may be wrong. It is pointing a person to Jesus and His words. It is showing love, compassion, mercy and grace to a person. The goal is to get them to become a follower of Jesus, not beat them down.
You will have people who will be an opponent to you. Some may be just verbally violent, while others may be physically violent. Jesus had both types against Him. How you speak and react to them will show how much of a follower of Jesus you are.
Give them a chance to change and choose to follow Jesus. Do not just condemn them and give up on them. Jesus did not speak harshly with you and did not give up on you.
I pray today that you will know the gentleness of Jesus; that you will show God’s love to all people; that God will give you the words to speak to your opponents; and that many will come to Jesus through your message.
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 1 Corinthians 14:26
Jesus came to build His church. It was to be built with people who would follow Him and believe in Him and glorify God. He was looking at the church as a whole, not the individual churches that are seen today.
Each individual, physical church today has a part in building up God’s church. And inside each individual church, every person has a part in building up God’s church. Working together, God’s church will be built up.
Over the years, the ways of building up His church has changed. It is common today to see some churches use many methods to build it up. Paul gave some guidelines in what is needed to build a church up. Hymns, instruction, revelation, tongues, and interpretation are all needed in the process.
While there are many churches that use these methods, there are also many that do not. Some churches do not really preach the word of God, but put on a good entertainment show for the people. Sinful practices are allowed openly in the leaders of the church, while claiming to believe in Jesus. There is no real word of instruction, but it is all about feeling good, not being holy.
Flashing lights, fast songs, and coffee may draw a lot of people to the physical church, but the question is are they being changed to be more like Jesus? Without the word of God being at the center of everything being done, the church is not really being built up.
The things Paul listed are all focused on God and His Word, not on the physical things of this world.
As a believer in Christ, when you go to church, you must focus on building His church up. How are you leading others to walk closer to God? What words can you speak that will point people to God, rather than to this world?
Allow yourself to be led by His Holy Spirit to know the word to speak and the revelation to give someone else. Everything you do in the church is to worship God and build others up, whether you are the pastor or a member.
I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do in the church service; that God will reveal to you how to build His church; that God and His word will be the focus of every physical church; and that His church will be built up.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
Colleges are found all over the world teaching nearly every subject one can imagine. People love to have knowledge. There are some people who appear to be professional students. They continue going to college, changing their major on a regular basis, getting more and more schooling, but never getting the degree.
As much as people love to get knowledge, many reject wisdom and real instruction. A very simple way to put what wisdom really is, is to say that it is knowing how to use the knowledge that has been gained correctly.
Very few people really like to be told what to do or the best way to do something. Once they get a little knowledge, they feel that they know all there is to know. This is where they become a fool.
The very basis of all knowledge and wisdom must come from knowledge and fear of the God. He is the one who created everything in the beginning. He knows what is best in every situation. Without God as the foundation of everything, all a person has is false beliefs and lies. Everything without God is man-made and will crumble in the end.
The world likes to start out their teaching with the thought that there is no God. Since this happens, everything else begins to fall apart. They do not like to be told how to live their life, which is what God likes to do. People wonder why there is such crime and hate in this world, but refuse to believe in the God of love and His directions for their lives.
As a believer, you must allow God to guide and correct you. He will teach you the best way to live your life. The best way may not always be the most fun or the least painful, but it will be best for you in the long run.
God is there to guide you into all truth. Knowing and fearing (trusting, honoring) God is the foundation of a great life. This is the best start of knowledge and wisdom.
What or who is the foundation of your life?
Is it the things and knowledge of this world?
Or is it God?
I pray today that you will respect and honor God with your life; that you will seek the wisdom of God for your life; that you will not despise God’s directions to you; and that you will be filled with God’s wisdom.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9
Finding guidance in just about anything is easy to find. A person can go through a bookstore and see how many self-help books there are to guide him on how to do nearly anything. Searching on U-Tube will even find more guidance on how to do many things, from how to draw a simple picture, to how to rebuild an engine on a vehicle and more.
Getting guidance on the ways of God is not so easy to find. People will search out other people to find out how God does things or how to live for God better. Christian bookstores are filled with books on how to live a Christian life and how to live for God.
All of these ways of getting guidance on the ways of God is fair, but the best source is from God Himself.
There is a method though to getting God’s guidance in His ways–a person must be humble. People like to think of themselves and being in control of their lives and always knowing what is best. It is not just the teenagers who think they know what is the best way to do something, many adults do so also.
Being humble means that you realize you cannot do it and need help. You know that you are not capable of living life correctly for God in yourself. You cannot find the self-help on your own. You need God.
Letting go of your own life and allowing God to guide you will allow God to teach you His ways. If you think and act like you know everything, God will let you go your own way. If you humble yourself and let God have control, He will guide you and teach you His ways.
God can open up your spiritual eyes as you read the Bible to see and understand how you are to live for God, but you must be willing to be taught. Do not be a know-it-all. Only God knows everything.
Allow God to teach you His ways and see what He can do in and through you.
I pray today that God will give you a hunger for His word; that you will allow God to be in control of your life; that you will humble yourself before God; and that you will hear God’s instructions on how to live for Him.