Most people wish the world could be a more peaceful place, but few know how to achieve that goal. For the Christian, peace is not an abstract concept. It’s linked to our relationship with Jesus Christ. Only through Him can we experience true peace.
Seeing that Timothy was at the center of church conflict, Paul urged him to take a different path. He instructs Timothy to “flee the evil desires of youth” (v. 22). When a young person is confronted by someone who disagrees with them, or who attacks them, the natural response is to fight back. It is easy to take things personally and become embroiled in argument. Paul counsels Timothy not to “have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments” and not to be “resentful” in the face of opposition (vv. 23–24).
Instead, Timothy is to “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace” (v. 22). He is to “be kind to everyone” (v. 24). Instead of taking attacks personally and lashing out, “opponents must be gently instructed” (v. 25). His primary desire should be for the soul of those he is confronting. His prayer should be that “God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (v. 25). The situation was too serious to let ego get in the way. These opponents were in danger of being entrapped by the evil one (v. 26). In order to keep this perspective, Timothy should remember that he is the “Lord’s servant” (v. 24). He should not be concerned with justifying himself but with representing the Lord well in the midst of this conflict. He serves a God who “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).
>> Pursuing peace means wanting what is truly best for the other person. Perhaps there is someone in your life about whom you need to change your perspective. Consider, what would God want most for that person? How can you pray or work toward that end?
Lord, show us how to “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace” (2 Tim. 2:22) in all circumstances and with all people, being “kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (v. 24).