“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

// 1 Timothy 6:3-5

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we model what we value, putting into practice what is nearest to our hearts. Proverbs says “as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” [Proverbs 27:19]. Children often mimic behaviors, mannerisms and lifestyle choices of their parents, repeating both good and bad. If we have made the choice to follow Jesus and accept Him for who He says He is, then shouldn't we be modeling behaviors and characteristics similar to His?

Imagine a training trapeze artist attentively watching and learning every motion and move of the master. We can easily identify the risk of a lax attitude in not being attentive in that situation, but somehow we as Christians feel that we can get away without giving Christ a fully devoted life. The Master is there to teach; He wants us to learn, grow and become the best we can be. The correction He gives us is born from a desire to see us get it right. There is no fear in His perfect love.

Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” [John 14:27]. A peaceful heart is not easily troubled; Jesus is not easily troubled. So if He is in us, we shouldn’t find ourselves easily troubled. How quickly do we jump in when conversations about controversies or suspicions arise? By abiding in Christ and walking in the teaching and wisdom that God grants us all, we then become quick to listen and slow to speak. We are called to something much greater than proving a point or being right, although there is a time and place for that. The cost is too great.

The word of God is sharp – it can be used to wound or to carefully and perfectly cut away lies and impaired thinking. Let’s be a people who renew our minds with His word and refresh each other by calling out the new man or woman of Christ. Let’s model our Father, being comfortable and unmoved when in silence, bold and courageous when inspired to speak.

// Eric Gutmann