Zero Tolerance

The newscasts yesterday in Toronto featured a ‘voluntary’ testing for drivers who want to discover the level of impact of marijuana in their system. It’s a discussion for another place, but our impending Canadian shift in loosening the law, will soon be upon us and will generate, in my opinion, disastrous social consequences. I’ve listened to my fair share of talk show discussions with concerned physicians, researchers and law enforcement personnel.

I wish there was a test for ‘foolish and stupid arguments.’ Paul, in this mentoring manual, better known as 2 Timothy in the New Testament, urges Timothy to have zero tolerance for these time-consuming, time-wasting activities. 

Yesterday, I received a graphical design of Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Just reading that text online served God’s purpose to warn me about the improper use of any part of my life.  Jesus is coming soon, and when He comes, He will reward each individual for what they have done with their time and energy. There is no time to waste! Let’s take inventory as we conclude another year of living.

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”

Sounds like zero tolerance to me. Some topics are not worth engaging with any amount of mental energy, and despite the temptation, I am not mandated to respond to every Facebook post, email offer, or verbal barrage which I may hear in the course of a week! Timothy, Paul is saying, your time and energy as a leader must be consumed with the best activities.  Love the LORD your God with ALL layout heart and ALL your soul and ALL your strength and ALL your might.  If you do that, there is not much time or energy left for secondary pursuits.

Why avoid quarrels? Paul is explicitly clear in his instruction and provides for Timothy (and us) a profitable approach to those whose opposition tests our sanctification.

“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance treading 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 2:24-26)

The challenge for the Lord’s servant is great.  Keep yourself under control.  Don’t ‘lose it’ on anyone but model kindness, a graciousness which only God can generate. Your opponents are to be dealt with in gentleness. The stakes are high.  You are in warfare and are rescuing people from the lies of doctrine and practice. 

May 2017 be a year of rescue! We used to sing, ‘Rescue the Perishing…’ I’m not sure what contemporary music would express the same sentiment, but may God mobilize all His sons and daughters as His soldiers in the battle that has eternal consequences.

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