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Fleeing And Pursuing

1 Timothy 6:11
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIVUK)

Paul’s concluding instructions to Timothy are quite stark.  In this letter Paul identified many problems which threatened to corrupt the church: love of money, foolish desires, discontent, friction, evil suspicions, malicious talk, strife, envy, false doctrines, conceit, and arrogance – to name only those which are mentioned in this chapter.  

However, in addition to threatening the integrity of the church, and therefore the work of the gospel, they could be a personal snare and temptation to Timothy as a “… man of God”.  That expression was often used in the Old Testament to mean a prophet, a man who spoke truth from God into a spiritually hostile environment.  Moses was called a “man of God” (Deuteronomy 33:1) and he pointed forward to Jesus as a “prophet like me” (Deuteronomy 18:15).  Other such people were David (Nehemiah 12:24), Shemiah (1 Kings 12:22), Elijah (1 Kings 17:24), and Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-7).  The “man of God” had God’s authority to speak out the Word of God in a hostile world – bringing people to repentance and obedience to God’s covenant.  It was a very weighty title that Paul gave to Timothy, to speak and live for Christ.  
This dual instruction, to flee from all evil and pursue righteousness, is as necessary for the man of God as for the new convert.  Christ’s servants have Christ’s encouragement and strength to resist sinning (Hebrews 4:15).  But also, in their personal lives, as well as in their preaching, they must also pursue all that is good from God (2 Timothy 2:22).  Righteousness is defined by God’s Word and demonstrated by Christ’s character; it must be eagerly pursued (Proverbs 15:9).  Personal godliness develops from gladly receiving God’s Word.  Faith comes from gladly trusting God and His promises.  Love must be gladly received from God in a submissive relationship - without receiving love we cannot love or serve others.  Endurance comes from eagerly desiring the Holy Spirit’s work of strengthening our determination: and gentleness arises from a conviction that we do not need to strive in our own strength.
It is good for every Christian to check out their life in the light of this verse.  If we belong to Christ, we are men and women of God.  Our lips will speak of our Saviour, as our lives validate our relationship with Him.  In which areas of life should we be actively fleeing from what is wrong, giving evil no second thought or space to grow?  Also, we need to review our spiritual goals; how much of the present and future is conditioned by our love for the Lord and worship of Him?  Those who lead others must give this special consideration (husbands, wives, parents, and grandparents; and those with responsibility at work, in the community and in the church are all included).  It is spiritually deadly to ignore such a personal review.  But after we have seen the reality and taken the necessary action, then we can become useful to the Lord again.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who prompts our conscience and reveals what is true about our motives. Forgive me for the times I have continued on my own track without reference to You. Please help me to review my life with You and be courageous as I take the necessary action so I can be useful to You by leading others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams