Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 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 2:22-26)

I know this is a somewhat large passage from the Scriptures that has many different teaching points; however, a young friend of mine shared a post recently that really stirred my spirit and God has pressed upon me to share a portion of the Scripture she shared as well as what He is placing in my heart and calling.

The first part of 2 Timothy 2 shares a passage that is readily on the tongue of many who follow Christ – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV).  Taking that verse and applying it to your life can be a really good thing, but without taking it into context of the end of the chapter (verses 22-26) can and has created many who condemn people far from God and worse drive them away from the only One who can truly make them happy and can save them from an eternity of torment, separated from Him.  God desires that we correctly handle the word of truth AND expects us to extend grace and love to those in whom we interact.

That’s the fire that God keeps pressing in my heart.  That is the reason I am so passionate about Relational Discipleship!  Spending time with lots of people from every walk of life – from committed to casual believers, from seekers to those not even considering a relationship with God.  You know, the way Jesus did relationship!  I think He was the best model for how we are to relate to those around us on a daily basis!  Here is a small list of those in whom Jesus made contact and how He addressed them:

The religious people of His day (Pharisees and Sadducees) –  He rebuked them for their self-righteous behavior.  Prideful believers fall into this category.  As a mature believer, we must not step back from rebuking a fellow believer in their sin…we do so in love, but not doing so does not show love at all…in fact, it is exactly the opposite!

Sinners and Tax Collectors – He spent time with them and showed them grace, mercy and love.  He came to save the lost, the sinners and those far from Him…He did not come for the self-righteous, but for the sinners in need of His grace and love!  This is the model in which we utilize when interacting with those who do not know Jesus, those in whom we have a relationship with daily and are pointing to the Savior.

The Apostles – He spent lots of time with them, teaching, rebuking, doing life with them as He discipled them to go and change the world.  This is the model as believers we should hold to when discipling other believers.

Children – He enjoyed them and placed a high value on their innocence and pure undefiled faith.  Something we all can learn from in our faith lives!

Jesus meets people where they are and responds according to their belief and understanding.  We should do the same.  Correctly handling (or dividing) the word of truth can never be a point of emphasis unless it is presented to the non-believer, seeker, or new believer in the realm of grace.  We can never be Jesus hands and feet if we are treating everyone we come in contact with as He did the Pharisees.  Yes, we call out a mature believer in that way when they are acting self-righteous, but to those in the other categories, you extend love and grace as you develop a relationship and represent Jesus well to those around you.

I have said this before and will again…Jesus wants our love and devotion, not our begrudging submission out of fear.  He also does not want us to beat non-believers, seekers and new believers over the head with the law (the things we do), He desires our hearts and a transformation of our true selves (who we are) as we follow Him out of our love for Him, not our fear of Him.  Relationships can only be based on love, trust and respect, never fear and undesired submission.  He wants relationship with us at the heart level, the same way He wants us to extend His love to those in our circles of influence.

Simply put, Love God and love others…become a disciple who makes disciples, ones who love God with all their heart! Disciples, making disciples who will make disciples!  And remember…people who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, and Jesus liked people who were nothing like Him!  That’s our marching orders…go make disciples and be like Jesus!

keep calm

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