That's what these verses (from today's New Testament reading) reminded me of:
And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness teaching those who are opposed, if perhaps some of them may be granted repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.This passage also reminds me of myself as a young Christian. When I came to Jesus, my guilt was instantly wiped away. But, as a recent speaker reminded us, my weaknesses, my bad habits, and so on, were not. It has taken quite a few years to get to this point, and I have not arrived by any means. I sometimes get a quarrelsome impulse, but with God's help I don't indulge it as often as I used to.2 Timothy 2.24-25
But let's look a little more at these verses. In this section, Paul gives Timothy advice to prepare him to be used by the Lord (2.21: If a man cleanses himself... he will be... prepared to do any good work; 3.17: that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work). Doesn't that sound good?
In particular, he's telling Timothy to flee evil desires of youth (he may have been about 35), to pursue growth with like-minded people, and to avoid "foolish and stupid arguments".
Which also sounds like good advice. To apply this to my life, I guess I should avoid the evil desires of the middle-aged!
As for the promise of being prepared and equipped for every good work -- that sounds like something I can ask for, and count on, at any age. What are the conditions? In 2.21 he talks about keeping away from (I think) godless chatter, and in 3.16-17 it's about having a life instructed and shaped by the Scriptures.
So the Scriptures then, and not godless chatter. (What is "godless chatter" today? People magazine? National Enquirer? Inquiring minds want to know!)