AVOID QUARRELS . . . . and Youthful Passions?

“Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace . . . . Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly . . . correcting opponents with gentleness.” (II Timothy 2:22a, 23-24a, 25a from II Timothy 2:1-26 )

I get the sense sometimes that Paul does not have much regard for youth and youthful pursuits. To Paul life was a very serious matter, and it was important to make sure a person was on the right path in life. Of course Paul also believed that Christ would return in the not too distant future, so there was little time to prove one was a serious Christian.

Some faith systems do not allow for a long period of childhood before acceptance and compliance with theology is expected. Other faith systems do not place any expectations on the young, and in fact do not specify any time when a person should join the faith. The setting aside of youthful passions, I believe, should not be forced or happen quickly. Of course, I have not tried to discover what Paul might have meant by “youthful passions.” He was talking/writing to his mentee, Timothy. And had sent Timothy into a ministry position. Perhaps Timothy was ready for this position; or perhaps he felt that he was too young, and may not ready to set aside the passion of youth.

I like most of what Paul says here, both excerpted portion and the fuller passage. But I disagree with the shedding/shunning of youth passions. Properly directed, passion (whether young or old) can do amazing and wondrous things. Maybe was thinking of his own youth, and the correction that the Lord did to his passions on the road to Damascus. Often the elderly look at the instances of their “misspent” youth and advice the young to give up such “foolishness.”

While I would not wish the young to get into trouble or ruin their lives before they have matured, each person has to make their own mistakes in order to have something to learn from. Better to approach life with passion and vim than to plod through youth and young adulthood walking a conservative and dull life. Passion in youth sets the stage for wisdom and experience in the mature years.

May you gentle reader live your life the the fullest, knowing what it feels like to have strong and vibrant experience. Dullness does not necessarily mean peace. Love should be lived and acted out with passion. And faith without passion is a listless devotion at best. May the Lord who gave meaning to “passion” enliven your life no matter your age. Selah! And a passionate shalom for your day.