The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in their lives? Our New Testament passage shows us four ways.
Today many call evil good and good evil. So many things that are advocated today would have seemed impossible 10 years ago. It makes us wonder how people can be so blinded to the truth.
But it’s not just unbelievers who can become deluded. How can we avoid spiritual delusion in our own lives?
Also read about overcoming evil and the only One who is “hope-worthy.”
Jeremiah 47 & 48
2 Timothy 4:1-22
4 Ways to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life
2 Timothy 4.1-22:
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (v. 2).
The world is full of people who are caught in patterns of sin, who are without hope, who have been hurt or disappointed by others, or who are spiritually deluded. How can we make a difference in their lives? Here are just 4 ways:
- “Preach the Word!” We are to be ready to share the gospel at all times, whether it’s convenient, whether there is a personal cost, and whether or not our words are accepted. This isn’t just for those in full-time ministry. It’s for each one of us (Matt. 28.19-20).
- “Convince.” We are to do so lovingly and patiently without arguing or getting upset (2 Tim. 2:23-26).
- “Rebuke.” At other times we must rebuke, especially with a sinning brother or sister in Christ. But again we are to do so lovingly and gently, looking first at our own lives (Gal. 6:1-2).
- “Exhort.” We are to encourage others to act on their faith and when they do, encourage them to keep going.
Is there someone in your life to whom you have been unwilling to speak truth or to share your faith out of fear or insecurity? Remember, it’s not about us. We can’t save anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. We just need to be obedient.
Is there someone caught in a web of sin that you need to lovingly and gently reprove or rebuke? Maybe you’ve thought, “Who am I to judge? I’m far from perfect!” While that’s true and we aren’t to come across self-righteously (Gal. 6.1-2), it can’t be an excuse to disobey God. Proverbs 27.6:
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
When I need to confront someone, I sometimes start out, “I’m not talking to you because I’ve always done it right. In fact, just the opposite!” Then I might share a little of my own testimony. Other times I might say something like, “I love you too much not to talk to you about this …”
So if there’s someone you need to lovingly confront, ask God for the wisdom and grace.
Is there someone you need to encourage to step out in faith, act on what they believe, or stay the course? Do you know someone who is not using his or her gifts and abilities? Encourage them to take the first step.
Or maybe they need to step out and grow more spiritually by joining a small group or attending a Bible study. Maybe they need a mentor to walk alongside them, read the Bible with them, or study a book together. Could God be calling you to come alongside them?
Or is there a single mom who faithfully brings her children to church after a long week of work? Or a single dad struggling to raise girls? Or a student who serves God instead of doing what everyone else seems to be doing? Let them know that you notice.
Preach the Word! Convince, rebuke, encourage … make a difference in someone’s life!
Today’s Other Readings:
Jeremiah 47 & 48:
In these two chapters the Lord speaks to the Philistines and the Moabites and warns them of coming judgment. Even though God would first use these and other heathen nations as instruments of judgment against the nation of Israel, He would also judge them.
Sometimes, in God’s sovereignty, He allows people in our lives to sin against us, too, because He knows He can use it to grow us and help us to become more like Christ.
Romans 8.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
When it happens, we are to respond with love and forgiveness and to trust Him to deal with them appropriately.
Romans 12.17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
He Alone is “Hope-Worthy”
The Psalmist said, “I hope in Your word” (v. 114b).
Where do you place your hope? In your career, in your family, in our government? In having enough money or having your children turn out well or having a spouse who loves you and is faithful to you?
While those are not bad things, they all make lousy saviors. God alone is truly “hope-worthy”!
James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
And Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
“Evil men do not understand justice …” When we disobey God’s Word we become increasingly deluded, calling evil good and good evil. We see this today as homosexuality and other types of sin and perversion are called good and those who speak the truth about God’s righteousness are called evil, intolerant, homophobes, and accused of trying to push their rules on others.
But “… those who seek the Lord understand all.” The more we inform our consciences biblically and obey God’s truth, the more we understand and grow spiritually.
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about whether being good really matters, the basics of the Christian life, national sin, the loss of restraining grace and more.
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