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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

FOLLOW THE LORD

2 Tim 2:22-26 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And 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; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

One can view the world in which we live, and observe many varied examples of sins, resulting from human lust. Lust is a strong desire to gratify a physical appetite, that is sinful under the law of God; it is an intense, inordinate craving to satisfy the desire of one's physical senses with things that are evil in the sight of God. Lust, when fully conceived, ...bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Paul, by divine inspiration, recognizes lust as a characteristic that is disdainful in the sight of God, because of the sinful effect it can have on His children, especially those that are youthful and more susceptible to their allurement. Therefore, our Heavenly Father, gives us this parental warning, to recognize, and avoid all lustful desires and they willflee from their presence.

Paul, in this letter to young Timothy, gives him, not only personal advice on how to conduct his own life, but also gives him insight into that which he is to teach to others. At the same time, all that read this inspired letter are privileged to receive the same godly advice. As Christians, Paul tells us things we are to flee from as well as things we are to follow, in order to lead a life acceptable in the sight of God. We are assured that we must flee from the presence of lust, but we are also told to follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

In order to follow God's ways, we must follow righteousness - we must pattern our life around the things that are right, good, virtuous, and just. We must follow ...faith - faith in God as our Creator and the Author of eternal salvation, which He has made available to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. Strong obedient faith, culminating in baptism for the remission of sins, is the only grace of God that will extinguish the passion of sin, that leads to eternal death. We must find it, place our trust in it, grow in it, and faithfully follow it.

We must also follow ...charity. God requires unconditional love of His children toward Himself and toward all mankind (See Matt. 22:37-40). Hatred of others alienates one from God. The evil characteristic of hate cannot exist in one's life and still remain faithful to God. We must find love in our hearts for God and all mankind, and we must follow it "religiously."

Then, we must also follow ...peace. Christians are to seek, and follow, peace with all mankind (Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14). However, in the context used here, we must follow peace with all children of God that make up the church of Christ, that is, with all fellow Christians that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. To the Roman Christians Paul wrote: Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (Rom. 14:19).

When a congregation of God's people follows after peace among the brethren, they will avoid foolish and unlearned questions. Why avoid these erring characteristics? Becausethey do gender strifes,and strife has no place in the church of Christ. Paul continues by saying that the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men. Instead of disputing over meaningless opinions of men, Christians are taught to develop a gentle, quiet, and kind demeanor. This will lead to a unified effort among all members of the body of Christ - an effort, which will allow them to do the will of God, rather than the will of individual members, and earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). When this takes place, Christ's church will flourish, increase in number, and their faith will be strengthened. It is through patience and meekness we are able to teach those that oppose themselves - those that give in to false teaching and are led astray from the hope of eternal salvation. Gentle, patient, and meek teaching of God's word is the only hope of leading erring children of God to repentance ...that they may recover (awaken) themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Paul's admonition is clear; we must follow the Lord. And then when we look behind us, those friends, neighbors,and fellow Christians that are following us, will also be following the will of God that leads to eternal life in heaven.