But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV).
Has anyone ever called you “man of God” (or “woman of God”)? That hasn’t happened to me very often, and that’s ok. I’d much rather wait to hear God say it to me Himself. In the meantime, I hope I don’t dishonor Him with what I do going forward. There isn’t much that can be done about bad things I’ve said and done in the past except pray with God and attempt restoration where possible. But going forward is unwritten paper. You and I can fill it with Godly pursuits.
Paul reminds us that those pursuits should include righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. In fact, if I could impart just one good lesson to my kids and grandkids, except for “love God, then love your neighbor,” it would be verse 11. Flee from unwholesome things because they’re trouble that can bring you down. While fleeing from them, pursue other things that are wholesome, and do it in a way that has you pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
That’s a recipe for a happy life, probably a long one. Yet whether it’s long or short, it’s using our time and talents in living the way God intended for women and men to live.
Pursue righteousness. Pursue every task in life being Christ-like, just, rightful, honest, and true.
Pursue godliness. Follow Jesus. Act like Jesus would. Model thoughts and behaviors on Him.
Pursue faith. Faith always provides hope and enough to get through even the toughest days.
Pursue love because anything done without love is done in vain, without God (because God is all love).
Pursue endurance. Endurance requires honest courage, and honest courage is a gift from God.
Pursue gentleness because even a hard man should be able to relate to others in love, faith, and godliness. Indeed, perhaps gentleness is the best way to deal with other people because even when toeing a hard line, one can do so gently.
All these things are the opposite of the love of money, or other petty behaviors Paul describes earlier in the book. Just think of how peaceful our daily lives could be if we conducted our work, home lives, or social (media) interactions by adhering to Paul’s verse 11 advice! I fall short in measuring up to Paul’s standard; how about you?
If we fall short, perhaps it’s time to admit that, seek forgiveness, then move forward in better ways…better ways described here today. Maybe if we did that, more of us could describe each other as “man” or “woman of God.”
For further reading: Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Timothy 3:17, 1 Timothy 2:2, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Timothy 6:12.
Forgiving God, I have failed to exhibit these good behaviors. Forgive me, and thank You for an opportunity to do better. Guide me in doing this today.