1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Three things stand out to me about this. In the first place, Paul is telling Timothy that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing; he’s got to chart his own course. As social animals it is very easy to be influenced by what those around us are doing. Recently a new occupation has arisen of a “social media influencer.” Social media aside, we are called to be influencers toward God, and not simply to be influenced by others. That brings up the second thing that stands out to me, and that is Paul calling Timothy a “man of God.” Timothy was still fairly young and he evidently had troubles with timidity, (2 Timothy 1:7) so this was an affirmation of who he was in Christ, not what he was naturally. We can only guess what a strength and encouragement it was to Timothy for Paul to address him like this. The third thing is that Timothy is told to “pursue” (the Japanese says, “earnestly seek”) these desirable qualities. We aren’t to be passive, assuming things will come along some day, but rather actively strive to be righteous, godly, and all the rest. We don’t have the strength or ability to succeed on our own, but God’s power waits on our decision, our will. Commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ isn’t a matter of taking the easy way every time, but of choosing to follow, to be faithful, to express the character of our Lord as He enables us.
This of course applies as much to me as it does to anyone. At this stage of life I am much more in the place of Paul than of Timothy, but I still need to be active in my pursuit of Christ-likeness. He has knocked off a lot of sharp edges and sanded down a lot of rough spots over the years, but I’m certainly no more perfect than Paul was. (Philippians 3:12-14) I recognize deficiencies in myself in each of the areas mentioned here, and I’m not to be passive about them. As God enables me, I am to keep growing in every dimension (except physically. Obesity is certainly not desirable!). I am to be an example to all, and especially to the “Timothys” God has given me, so that all may grow closer to the God who created us for His pleasure and glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the step of growth You gave me yesterday, after Cathy reminded me that this being a 5th Sunday, we normally have testimonies rather than a sermon. My first reaction was, “I’ve got a sermon prepared, and the title is on the street bulletin board, so I’m going to preach.” Thank You for leading me to decide that if people are prepared to give testimonies, I can just keep this message for next Sunday. I pray that Your perfect will would be done, whether I preach or not, because this is Your church and not mine. Thank You. Praise God!