Fleeing And Pursuing
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 occur in this chapter. However, in addition to threatening the integrity of the church, they could be a personal snare and temptation to Timothy.
This dual instruction to flee from all evil and pursue righteousness is as necessary for the man of God as for the new convert. God’s servants are not immune from temptation. But Christ’s ministers should not just be negative. In their personal lives as well as in their preaching they must also pursue all that is good from God. Righteousness is defined by God’s Word and demonstrated by Christ’s character; it must be pursued. Personal piety develops from gladly receiving God’s Word. Faith comes from trusting God and His promises. Love comes from God. Without receiving it we cannot love or serve others. Endurance comes from 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 review their life. Review those areas of life in which we are or should be actively fleeing from what is wrong, giving evil no second thought or space to grow. Also, we need to review our spiritual goals and see 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.
© Dr Paul Adams