But you, man of God flee from all this

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

Read: 1 Timothy 6:3-16

Consider: When reading Paul’s letters to Timothy it is easy to forget that they are personal letters between the apostle Paul and the much younger Christian worker, Timothy.  Does this mean that everything we read in these letters is purely for Timothy’s ears?  While some of Paul’s advice and guidance has a specific application to Timothy, much of these letters has application to our present times and to the churches we are part of.  Examples of advice given directly to Timothy include: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12) and: Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you (1 Timothy 4:14).  Despite such advice being directly applicable to Timothy’s situation, Paul’s words resonate with us today, especially if we are involved in any aspect of Christian service.

In his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul writes about how the whole of Scripture is relevant because we can learn from past events recorded in the Bible: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).  Elsewhere he says: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Can you see that the whole of Scripture (the Bible) is relevant to us and should be studied so as to learn of its application to our daily lives?

Returning to today’s reading from 1 Timothy 6, what are we to glean from it?  Paul sets out the characteristics of false teachers that should be avoided (6:3-10), together with those characteristics that should be developed in the man or woman of God (6:11-16). The negative characteristics Paul highlights reveal that there are those, even in the church, who have an ‘… unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels …’ (v4) and who ‘… think that godliness is a means to financial gain’ (v5).  At this point Paul tells Timothy: But you, man of God, flee from all this (6:11).  Paul uses the Greek word φεύγω when telling Timothy to ‘flee’.  This implies that there is real danger present in having an unhealthy interest in these types of controversies and also in seeing serving God as a means of financial gain. Is Paul against intellectual discussion or a Christian worker seeking a decent salary to live and support their family? Of course not.  It is when these things become more important than serving God and sharing the good news of the gospel, that problems arise.

Turning to the positive characteristics Paul says this: But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:11-12). 

Whatever the area of service in which we are involved, God’s desire for us is to develop those characteristics in us that make us more Christlike, which in turn leads to us being able to build up others in their faith.

Pray: Father, may the whole of Scripture be a source of knowledge and wisdom for us.  May we learn to apply what we read in the Bible, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  We also pray that the characteristics of a man or woman of God may be evident in every aspect of our lives.  Amen

Every blessing

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