I don't like fighting, yet I am naturally a fighter. I don't like arguing, yet I am naturally a debater. A spirit of contention is so contrary to Christ's will for our lives. Even, and especially, in regard to Bible truth, I find myself fighting and arguing. It shouldn't be so! Who am I that I should defend God? It's like a flea trying to defend a lion! My attitude should simply be one of submission to Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Philippians 2:3-8, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Here is the heart of the matter. If I argue against someone, even regarding truth, am I not placing myself above them? I can present truth, but when presenting truth turns into contending about truth, I need to turn my eyes back to Christ. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Galatians 5:22-26, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Notice the fruit of the Spirit is not compelling others to obey God, nor is it arguing skillfully for truth. "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." If we esteem ourselves better than others, is that not a clear manifestation of our uncrucified flesh rising up? "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."
It is my intention to bear fruit, not to force truth on others. The question is, "How am I to bear fruit? Am I to try with all my strength?" Christ, in His last discourse with His disciples before being crucified, revealed the secret to bearing fruit.
After the last supper, while on the way from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. ... Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:1, 4-5)
So we see it's only be abiding in Him that we bear fruit. But how do we abide in Him? What does it mean to abide in Him? That's the million dollar question. Luckily, Jesus gave us some clues. In verse 9 He says, "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." So we see some connection between abiding and love. So how do we abide in His love? Well, in verse 10 He answers that clearly, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love." OK, so to abide in His love we follow His commandments...but what are His commandments? In verse 12 He lets us know, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." To make sure we get it, He says again in verse 17, "These things I command you, that you love one another."
Christ mentioned "abiding" 10 times in 7 verses (4-10). This is obviously something we should spend much time contemplating. He mentions us abiding in Him, Him abiding in us, His words abiding in us, us abiding in His love as He abides in His Father's love.
I have a tendency to wander during these posts and studies. But my point was something about how we should treat each other, how we should talk to each other. I guess, like everything else, it all boils down to love.