I knew a young guy who was just a little bit cocky and self-confident! He thought he knew it all about most subjects and wasn’t afraid to share his abounding wisdom with others. Had an opinion about most things… perhaps you could call him “opinionated.” He loved a really good argument about politics and theology! It seemed he never saw a verbal fight that he didn’t like. His passions ran hot! And the truth was he was, although he was a Christian he was vulnerable to “youthful passions. Knew the young guy pretty well… that young man was ME! I’ve learned a lot since those early years… a lot of people have had to be patient with me… And the grace of God, the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, and the love and nurture of my Heavenly Father have been a great key to my Spiritual growth and maturity. Hopefully, I’ve become a faithful and fruitful servant of the Lord!
Thought of that young guy and a lot of others I know as I read these words in 2 Timothy 2:22-26… (We don’t know with certainty, but Paul’s words seem to indicate there was another young man he loved and mentored, named Timothy, who struggled with some of the same challenges that I did.) Here’s what Apostle Paul told Timothy…
“[Timothy] KEEP AWAY FROM youthful passions! PURSUE righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart. REJECT foolish and ignorant controversies, because you know they breed infighting. The Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will.” (From the NET translation)
Notice the imperative verbs I’ve placed in all caps… Commands – good advice for young, gifted, spiritual leaders … (And I know some old guys who are also still learning “to take a bridle” [farm talk for getting your passions under control so they can be useful to the Lord])… Keep away from! Flee! Run from! Avoid! youthful passions…. Pursue some things – authentic righteousness, faithfulness, sincere love, and what makes for peace! And Reject, don’t get involved in, don’t have anything to do with foolish arguments, controversy or heated disputes about politics, theology or personal preferences. Kindness, gentleness and patience are the order of the day for those involved in the Lord’s work… I like to call it “steel under velvet.”
Oh that young guy I was talking about (who is now an “old guy?” He’s still work’n on it!