God’s love gives us strength to serve Him well. Paul mentions 4 specific ways to work well for God: work hard, stay out of foolish debates, correct false teaching with gentleness, and stay pure. All of these masks sense, all of these are critical to godly leadership, but all of them take discipline.
Discipline is needed as Christian leaders, needed in every area of our lives. We need it to be gentle when we are frustrated, to run from tempting situations, to stay out of the gossip. We are told by our culture to follow our desires, but many of our desires are not godly. Out natural desires need to be disciplined as we follow the Holy Spirit. As we are Christ’s disciples, we discipline ourselves to Christ’s way of living in love. Then we grow more and more like Jesus, then our desires slowly begin to become more godly. This is the hard, slow work of building godly character. This is what God wants for our lives, this is why Jesus died.
Unfortunately, this is what so many of us miss in the Christian life. We miss the daily discipline, and so we miss the joy that He promised, and the power He gives.
15Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17This kind of talk spreads like cancer,a as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
19But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The LORD knows those who are his,”b and “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.”c
20In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
22Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.