Specific Text: 1 Timothy 2:22-26
Paul's letters are full of tension: God chose you before time began, but you must willingly follow Him; God predestined all things, but the choices you make matter. You can never lose your salvation, but you must constantly keep watch so you don't fall into the devil's traps. All of these statements are true all of the time, but the different situations you face in life cause some of those truths to seem more emphasized than others. The tension pulls us in two different directions.
As Paul wrapped up his first letter to Timothy, he encouraged us to flee sin, pursue righteousness, and to fight the good fight (1 Tim 6:11-12 / Flee -> Pursue -> Fight -> Take Hold). He'll close this letter by writing that he has 'fought the good fight.' He writes over and over that the Christian life is a battle, and that we should train like soldiers. Reading his letters are often like hearing a half time pep talk from your coach when you're losing by two points.
But don't forget the tension! This passage begins with a familiar formula: flee childish evil desires and pursue righteousness. But right when you expect to be encouraged to fight, he goes in a different direction: don't get involved in stupid arguments. Don't be quarrelsome. Gently instruct your opponents so they will come to their senses. Should you be a lover or a fighter? Yes.
You are to fight by loving. Just like everything else, the gospel flips your understanding of the world. The goal of your battles is not to cut down all of your enemies, rather it is to lift them up, and humbly lead them towards repentance.
What relationship can you flip? Is there somebody that you always seem to bicker and argue with about everything? Go to battle with that person! Engage in the fight! But fight them by humbly, gently and patiently leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
Prayer For The Day: Thank you Lord for the patience you have shown to me. Help me to aggressively purse and promote the truth, but help me to do so showing those who try to trip me up the same love that you have shown to me. Amen.