Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Gentle Unto All"

The stronger our conviction, the more gentle must be our heart.

"The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves" (II Timothy 2:24-25).

Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are called to confident assurance and earnest contending for Who and what we believe (Jude 1:3). We are to be "good soldiers of Jesus Christ," and "fight the good fight of faith" (II Timothy 2:3; I Timothy 6:12). God calls us to courageously and forthrightly affirm His Word in a world wherein much opposition awaits anyone willing to wage the battle of affirming the supremacy of the Savior and Scripture in a pluralistic, polytheistic world.

The necessity of such conflict may tempt us to believe that an aggressive attitude is necessary for the challenges we face. Earthly warfare requires such a disposition, and on the world's battlefields, gentle soldiers are rarely victorious soldiers. However, it is not earthly warfare in which we are engaged. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). We confront those who literally "oppose themselves" as much or more than they struggle against God or against us. Therefore, we face our challenge with a completely different perspective than the earthly combatant, waging our warfare not with aggression, but with the love of the Lord Jesus.

We also fight not for victory, but from victory. The Tomb is empty, the heavenly Throne is occupied, and the ultimate outcome assured. Certainly the skirmishes we encounter along the way are real and consequential, and again, our convictions are to be strong and courageously affirmed. True strength and courage, however, are always accompanied with the quiet dignity of the Christ whose brow is never furrowed with worry, and who never wrings His hands when pondering possible outcomes of battles. "The Captain of our salvation" has overcome the world, and as we look to Him, conviction and gentleness concurrently reside within our hearts (Hebrews 2:10). Any other frame of heart and mind disqualifies us from the conflict that must be fought with the love that seeks to sacrifice itself for its enemies rather than slay them...

"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
(Romans 5:8; 10)

"I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
(Matthew 5:44)

"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds."
(II Corinthians 4:10)

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