RUN TO THIS! (1 Timothy 6:11c)Feb 04, 2024
Final Charge to Timothy
1. 11 But you, man of God,
2. flee from all this,
3. and pursue righteousness,
8. and gentleness.
God isn't actually a "Thou shalt not" God, which is how many see him. Following Him is not just a bunch of things you are not allowed to do because some cosmic kill-joy says so. He also points us toward correct behaviour if we are to enjoy the best life we could possibly imagine.
So here, Paul tells us to "pursue" - chase after, run toward, and he gives us six facets of what it means to be a man of God. Or, better yet, it's like 6 circles of a Venn diagram which overlap, and with "Person of God" in the middle where they all come together.
Righteousness: Being in right standing with God, even though the only one who is truly righteous is God himself. We see someone like Abram being credited as righteous in Gen. 15:6 because he "believed the Lord." It's not a matter of righteous behaviour, because we will always miss the mark. Righteousness is a matter of belief, of faith - not conduct. The good news is that through Jesus, your unrighteousness can be replaced by His righteousness - not because we deserve it, but because He loved you enough to take the penalty for your lack of righteousness. But that doesn't give us license to behave as we wish!
Godliness: Godlike? Me? The only way we could possibly do that is to diminish the immeasurable creator God and put Him in a me-sized box. But we can approach life with an attitude which increasingly shows the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Godliness is one of the attributes Peter mentions in his second letter:
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)
Faith: Faith is the foundation of being a person of God, and at its core, faith is trust. It means actually basing our actions upon the trustworthiness of someone else. We can trust things (like I trust my car will safely take me to Burnaby and back), but trusting in a person takes that to a new level. When we board a plane, we trust the pilot to know what he's doing, and deliver us safely to our destination. Especially, it's when things don't go right, and there's a mechanical problem with the plane, or there are weather issues, or other complications. It's about having faith in and trusting someone to navigate through the storms of life.
Love: Agape love is the self-sacrificing, all-in "God so loved the world that He gave" kind of love. So it only stands to reason that being a person of God would mean being a source of this kind of love as well as reflecting the love of God to those around us. It's not an emotion, or a feeling, or warm fuzzies - it's a love that says, "I would willingly die for you." And that's just what Jesus did for us, so why would we hold back? Love as Jesus loved. Live as Jesus lived.
Endurance: Endurance means not giving up. It means persevering. It means not quitting. Resilience. Intensity. Tenacity. To use sports analogies, it's playing through the pain, giving 110%, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Refuse to lose! Refuse to quit! Running through the finish line. When Paul writes to the church in Rome, he says
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. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:4-6).
Gentleness: While Endurance speaks of a fierceness, this intensity is balanced by Gentleness, which is strength under control. This is not the milquetoast sentimentality of "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild." Gentleness speaks of great power that is completely under the direction of the powerful. It's the capacity of a nuclear bomb being channelled to light peoples homes. It's Aslan.
Aslan appears in Narnia as a large and terrifying, but equally magnificent and wise, lion with kind eyes. He appears in different sizes to different people, although he himself never changes; as people grow in wisdom and character, they can perceive more of his greatness. Aslan is very wise, and a powerful force for good, but as Narnians often say, “He’s not a tame lion.” He is dangerous, and an unconquerable enemy, but he is unquestionably good. (https://narnia.fandom.com/wiki/Aslan)
Put it all together, and you see a godly person.
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