All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for … correcting … so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
—2 Timothy 3:16-17
When is a thief not a thief? When he or she has stopped stealing? Not necessarily. A thief might stop stealing after getting caught and being put in jail. But after being released, a thief might take up stealing again.
When has a thief really changed? Our Bible reading today talks about radical correction. A thief “must steal no longer, but must work” to earn a paycheck and “have something to share” with someone in need.
God says clearly in his Word that it is not enough just to stop doing wrong things when we trust and follow Jesus Christ. We need to begin doing right things. As Paul describes it, it’s the dynamic of putting off the old way of life and putting on the new.
The power for this change comes from God’s Spirit living and working in us. How we should change is spelled out in God’s Word. Look at the examples in our reading today: lying must be replaced by truth-telling, anger with timely conflict resolution, hurtful talk with helpful words, bitterness with kindness, revenge with forgiveness.
What correction does your life need right now? What change would please the Lord?
Lord, “turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me” (Psalm 119:132-133). Amen.
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