“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.”
1 Timothy 6: 11-12a
1 Timothy 6: 11-16 – Part 2
As a Police Officer over the years I managed many an evacuation and the cordoning off, of an area. This for many reasons: unexploded World War II bombs; major crashes; fire; siege situations; and so on. The evacuation was for the safety of folk, for their good. Most heeded the directive but some refused. Many would come to the cordon to see what they could see. Motives for this behaviour varied but a general truth was present, people are drawn to matters they do not understand that may well be dangerous for them.
In this letter Paul has been warning the young Church of dangers that they were being drawn towards, dangers that they did not understand and that were hurting them. In the opening verses of this section a Royal Charter is issued; a commission that if followed would bless the Church and individual children of God. When facing danger there exists a physiological response called ‘fight or flight,’ (also known as the acute stress response). In these verses Timothy, the Church, and we, are called to adopt both responses. We are to flee that which is dangerous pursuing that which is beneficial; the latter pursuit is how we fight the good fight of faith. Fleeing untruth, false teachers and culture opposed to God, Timothy and the Church, were to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith and love in gentle endurance. These virtues can be translated as being right with God through faith whereby reverence and love are present in a persistent lifestyle and gentleness is evident. These are virtues worth fighting for and by necessity they have to be fought for; the battle is against principalities and powers opposed to God (Eph. 6: 12), the world (things not of God) and our old nature. The ‘fight of faith’ enables us to take hold of the eternal life we have been called to (vs. 12b).
The dangers the early Church faced are not dissimilar to that which the Church faces today. With differing motives we may find ourselves drawn to untruths and cultural beliefs that we do not fully understand and which could be dangerous to our faith and harm the Church. Let us flee such perils and pursue the virtues that lead to eternal life, bless others and glorify God. In Jesus’ words, let us, “Seek first His Kingdom (of God) and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to us as well,” (Matt 6: 33). This is indeed a Royal Charter.
To Ponder: Bring to mind the matters we have covered as we have studied this letter, the matters that Paul warns the Church about. How do these compare with that which the Church faces today? How might individual and Church wide pursuit of the Christlike virtues we looked at today be the answer?
Pray: Lord Jesus you have taught us that the night is far spent and the day is at hand. Keep us awake and alert, seeking and watching for your Kingdom. Help us to flee that which is not of you and to pursue your virtues. Make us strong in faith, so that when Christ comes in glory to judge the earth, we may joyfully give him praise; He who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Praise: All my hope on God is founded
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.