The Effective Way to Change Another's Behavior - 2Tim 2:24-26

Most of us try to change others by 'lecturing' or 'nagging' which usually ends in a quarrel and defeat the original intention. The Bible in 2Tim 2:14-26 shows us a better way. The ways are establishing your good testimony, then the show of love, follow by discovery of the lies and truth and patient. The love and the testimony trigger a reflection in the others' heart and a willingness to change.
Quarrels Change Nothing but Bring Harms
2Ti 2:14  ... charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.
When we quarrel, we are both hearers and speakers. Quarrels just spoil the relationships and making any further discussions and changes impossible.

A Good Testimony First
2Ti 2:15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ....
2:19 ... “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Before we intent to correct another, we must make sure ourselves are approved by God and others can see that. We need to earn the right to speak and be heard first by our testimony of good work and behavior. That is the necessary foundation step but it is still insufficient.

Add in Love

2Ti 2:24-26  And the Lord's servant
  • must not be quarrelsome --- do not lecture nor nag.
  • but kind to everyone, --- be loving and kind.
  • able to teach, --- have the wisdom and knowledge to guide others.
  • patiently enduring evil,  --- be willing to go through the tough times in councilling.
  • correcting his opponents with gentleness. --- always with gentleness and not judging nor condemning.
  • God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,  --- it takes time for them to reflect and be touched by the Holy Spirit.
The Success - Repentance & Freedom
  • and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. --- The Success - Freedom from the enslavement.

    They are trapped and deceived by the devil in believing in the wrong things - the lies. Only when they see the truth that they may change and be free.
Lessons to take-away:
  • Be upright yourself and live a good testimony earning the respect from others.
  • Have the wisdom to show what's wrong and point out the right ways.
    Discovering the lies and the truth.
  • Be loving, kind and gentle towards the other person.
  • Be patient and be ready for a long run in some cases.
Lim Liat (c) 25 Jun 2018


The Greatest Commandment and Its Meaning

The Greatest Commandment is about how we love God by being faithful to Him first and only, and with our whole life and understanding of Him and do our best with varied and creative methods to bring glory to Him.
Last Saturday Ps John Liu's Sermon on "Deeper Relationships" shared on "The Greatest Commandment". Some of his key points are captured here with my further meditations on the Word.

Mark 12:29-31 NIV
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

In the very short form, Love God and then Love Others.

1. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
There is only One true God who we should worship and love. There are no other gods. Our source is only one and He should be our focus and attention. There shall no others idols or others that will distract us. One is so simple and easy to follow. But men like choices. If we have many choices, then we have to decide and we actually become our own God. That is the sin of Adam, wanting to be his own judge of right and wrong. But we are not self-existence, God is. We are created by God and we are to worship our one and only Creator God. In Him, shall be our trust and no one nor anything else. Not people nor money nor power etc.

2. How do we love God? Love God with Our All
Ps Liu gave very good answers for the four components of how to love God.

  1.  Our Heart - Our Intention and Desire to be devoted to Him alone
    Pro 4:23  Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
    The core of our being is our heart - the center of love and desire. So we must guard it carefully and only be devoted to God, loving Him and no others.
    How do we love someone? We must find out and know His desires. His likes and dislikes. And then we do above His expectation to please and satisfy Him. God does that for us in Ephesians 3:20 ... to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us...
    How much love is there? Mary shows us in John 12:3 pouring a pint of pure nard that cost a year wage on Jesus vs Judas who thought it should be sold rather than waste on Jesus.
  2. Our Soul - Breath & Life
    The word for Soul is G5590 which is also breath. We all need to breathe to live. So it actually represents our life. We are warned in Mark 8:35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. We are to offer our lives as a living sacrifice Rom 12:2.
  3. Our Mind - Be creative. Think of various ways and methods to love God. Have understanding and knowledge of God's character and mind. 1 Jn 5:20 God had given us the understanding to know Him. Luke 5:18-25 shows the men using their brain overcome the obstacles to bring the paralytic to Jesus for healing.
  4. Our Strength - Do it with Excellence to Glorify God. Our Time, Efforts and Money.
    1Pet 4:11 We serve with the power that God has given us to bring glory to Him.
    Philippians 3:8 ... I(Paul) consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
    Mark 12:41-44 The Widow gave all that she had whereas the rich gave out of their excesses.
We begin with our heart with the full intention to love God and full commitment of our life and using our mind to think of the best ways and using our full strength to do with excellence to glorify God. There is only the right response to His creation and love of us. We love God by being faithful to Him first and only, and with our whole life and understanding of Him and do our best with varied and creative methods to bring glory to Him.

3. Loving God is Seen in Loving Others as Ourselves

'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ has two lessons for us.
  1. Who is our neighbor?  The parable of the Good Samaritan tells us clearly it is anyone in needs that we meet or know of. 
  2. As of ourselves? Isn't it selfish? It is extending our boundary to include the others in us. It is removing the dividing boundary between others and us. It is about becoming one, close to husband and wife. It is like Christ in us and we in Him. Hence, we have the golden rule of Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (This verse assume that others and you share the same values and likes).  The passive form is a good guide too "Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.".
  3. Other related verses include Rom 13:8, Gal 5:13-14, James 2:8
4. The Branding of Believers - Loving One Another like How Jesus Love

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give to you, 
    a. that you love one another:
    b. just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

The Branding: Joh 13:35  By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have the love for one another.”

We can work backward to the Greatest Commandments:
1. loving one another as Jesus.
2. because we are 'loving our neighbor as ourselves'
3. doing and serving with excellence,
4. using our creative mind and understanding of God and people needs
5. giving our whole life in His service
6. devoted and faithful to our One and only Source, God.

Lim Liat (c) 28 May 2018