Monday, August 12, 2013

Where God's Love Leads...looking at 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Last week I talked a little about how our perception of God colors our desire and readiness to go to Him when we are struggling...
This week I want to dive a little deep into a familiar passage of Scripture - one that maybe your children have even memorized - and yet you may not think of it as one of those places that reflect the deep kindness of God that leads us into repentance, because this is the path to healing of the soul(!) is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. NASB
I memorized these two verses under a program that used it as a "proof" text for the fact that God is the One who is truly behind the writing of Scripture, and that the Bible is the only inerrant source of information...BUT, I was never taught about the foundations of soul care and inner healing that it contained! That is, not until I was in my master's level program for counseling! And now, today, free of charge {smiling}, I will share this immense insight with you!  And I hope it continues to transform your thoughts about helping a person bring forth their sins to a point of repentance, because of the true healing and love that repentance produces! Here we go....

There are four activities specifically mentioned that the Scripture profits us in...
reproof (or rebuke or conviction -
depending on your translation)
training in righteousness 

In my Bible I have notes written by this verse...that:  

1 - teaching is a judging activity: this is NOT the kind of judging that Christians are exhorted NOT to do to others (judge not, lest you be judged); which has an implication of condemnation or punishment, but judging in the sense of discerning what is correct and what is incorrect.  In fact, the word translated "judge" in 1 Corinthians 6:3 (krinō), originally meant "separate." So Homer, of Ceres was separating, krino, the grain from the chaff (Iliad, v, 501). Thence, the word means 'to distinguish, to pick out, to be of opinion, to judge'. John 7:24 commands us to "NOT judge (krino) by appearances, but to judge (krino) with righteous judgment".  In other words, don't use our own personal preferences or opinions to judge a situation as right or wrong or even if another is acting appropriately or not; righteous judgement comes from the word of God.  So we are to judge according to what the Scriptures say.  And how do we learn how to accurately use the Scripture?  Through being taught by wise and seasoned teachers of the Word.

Teaching is sometimes an overlooked part of any act of correction - in our culture it is important to make sure our definitions are the same as the person's we are talking to.  This small act of clarification is a form of learning/instruction.  Perhaps the person in need of correction has never been taught a certain segment of Scripture that speaks directly to their issue.  What a relief and joy springs to their heart and mind when they know what God has expressly said!  Sometimes we in Christian circles forget that others, even in this great country of ours, have never read the Bible or heard certain segments of it.  Or perhaps they have heard some good teaching and then some contradictory argument, and subsequently have abandoned trying to find the truth.  These gentle hearts are in need of encouragement and help. 

In the counseling room, this act of teaching is indispensable.  Frequently a little instruction and a little discipleship (teaching the counselee how to study the Word and hear God on their own) is all that is required for their lives to get on track.

Parents can discipline their children for acts of misconduct when the parent has never instructed the child in what correct behavior is.  Somehow that very important step has been overlooked; we think that children will just assimilate from thin air what is right to do and then do it!  A good parenting tip is to do a self check when you find yourself starting to get angry at your children, and make sure that they truly understand what was expected of them.  Even if you are confident that you have taught them properly before the current indiscretion, it is always a good idea to take the opportunity to repeat the instruction in proper behavior to make sure they understand.  THEN, once you are sure they understand and they have still misbehaved, your well thought out consequences will be much more effective!

Our heavenly Father knows that  we are as children - and being a perfect parent, He doesn't hesitate to repeat instruction until we "get it" of the ways that His kindness leads us to repentance, the turning from wrong behavior to right...

Well, I originally thought I would get through this entire passage in one day, but as this one segment is getting quite long, I will stop here and do a deeper look into the section of "reproof" or "conviction" next week!

I love hearing from you; your thoughts and additional points to the topic!  Blessings...