1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
The section ahead of this that talks about greed is very famous, but Paul very rightly changes gears in addressing Timothy directly. It is much easier to do a positive thing than not do a negative thing. Instead of just trying to avoid bad stuff, Timothy, and by extension we, are told to pursue good stuff. (The Japanese says, “earnestly seek.”) Pursuing something is a lot more fun than fleeing from something! Frankly, some of the things in this list seem more enjoyable to pursue than others. It is sobering how often “patient endurance” shows up as a desirable trait throughout the New Testament. Americans are only just now beginning to taste what religious persecution is like, but the history of the Church is rife with it, and at no time more than today, if we look at the worldwide picture. Paul was writing to Timothy about the “nuts and bolts” of leading a local church, but it was in the context of opposition. The very next sentence is, “Fight the good fight of the faith.” Sometimes our opposition takes physical form, but whether or not it does, we always have an enemy who seeks to destroy us, the devil, and we are to be proactive toward him. As James said we are to “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Resisting includes making full use of the armor God provides, (Ephesians 6:10-18) which of course requires full submission to God, just as James said. It is in that understanding and posture that we are to pursue the things Paul mentions here. Then we will truly be people of God.
Once again I’m preaching to myself. I too have character traits I need to avoid, but if I focus on avoidance, I don’t go anywhere. I need to be forward-looking, striving to move ahead, just as Paul wrote to the Philippians. (Philippians 3:13-14) I need to recognize that these are the things I need to be displaying in my life, and evaluate myself accordingly. Likewise, as I minister to others I need to point them in this direction as well. All of this could be summed up as “Christ-likeness.” I need to remember, as well as teach, that this is God’s plan for us, (Romans 8:29) and if we will trust and obey Him, He will bring it about. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s very important to focus on the positive, particularly when the enemy assaults our minds with negative thoughts and scenarios. Thank you that the spot on my vocal cord was discovered, and that I’ll be having more thorough testing on it today. I pray that every decision in relation to that would be as You intend, to cooperate with Your health for me. I pray that my every word, attitude, and action would point people to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!