The apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26
Growing up I enjoyed playing soccer, volleyball, baseball, and especially football. I always seemed to come up short, however, when it came to basketball (pun intended)! I loved the camaraderie of being on a team. I had some great coaches who helped instill in me the importance of discipline, trust, loyalty, honour, and hard work. It was about an unselfish commitment to your team’s success over your own personal interests. Yet, it was amazing how quickly a well disciplined team could become an undisciplined team. This was often the case when, for whatever reason, the head coach was not in sight. Players slacked off, cheated on drills, and pulled pranks on unsuspecting rookies. A locker room of teammates could disintegrate into a place of taunts, one-upmanship, crass talk, put downs, quarrels, bragging and bullying. Then, if the coach suddenly reappeared, almost instantaneously, discipline, order, and team focus was restored.
“If we saw God, and heaven, and hell before us,” wrote Richard Baxter, “do you think it would not effectually reconcile our differences, and heal our unbrotherly exasperations and divisions? …What abundance of vain controversies would it reconcile!”
If a church loses sight of “God, and heaven, and hell,” as Paul also warned, it can become undisciplined, a place of disunity, foolishness, unkindness, quarrels and controversies. If God, however, graciously grants “repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (a glorious vision of Jesus), they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil.”
The biblical principle is clear - joyous camaraderie, that escapes the snare of the devil, comes when a church has a disciplined view to honour Christ in it’s every action and behaviour. To the glory of God, may it ever be so at New Minas Baptist Church!
Thanks for meandering along with me.