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  • Eric Kampmann

Gently Instruct

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter

before a dispute breaks out. He who loves a quarrel loves sin;

he who builds a high gate invites destruction.

— Proverbs 17:14, 19

We are not called by God to enter into endless controversies and arguments; rather, we are called to demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit, not through words alone but with our lives.

Here is Paul speaking to the young church in Corinth: “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5).

If we believe that religion is an institution founded by men for men, then our preaching can be nothing more than quarrels dressed up as high-sounding truth. We lose the power to change lives and instead serve the purpose of preserving particular traditions. It is good to remember that God is not impressed with our intelligence, knowledge, or earthly accomplishments.

Rather, He wants us to open our hearts to His Holy Spirit so that we can share our faith with those who have not heard the truth. Paul instructs Timothy in the way of being God’s servant: “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 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 leading them to knowledge of the truth . . .” (2 Timothy 2:23–25).

It is good to remember that Paul placed his emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s power and not his own. The power of Paul’s letters comes through his conviction of the truth of God’s Word. Paul’s humility and steadfastness should be a model for all disciples.

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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