“But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” – I Timothy 6:11
“Is he talking to me? Am I a man of God?”
“Are you sure? How did I become a ‘man of God’?”
By becoming a member of His family.
“Well, how did I become a member of His family?”
You became a member of His family when you were born again, when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. God is now your Father and you are His child. You’re a member of His family!
“All right. So I am a man of God. Now, what am I to pursue as this man of God?”
Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
“Tell me how to do this, please.”
“Me? How? Did I perform for it? I certainly do not act like a righteous person at times. Doesn’t performance determine whether or not I am righteous?”
No. God determines this. II Cor. 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (NAS). He took your identity as a sinner; you took His identity as a righteous person. You become a new creation when you are born again, and this is a mark of your new identity as a member of His family. You are righteous!
Our next pursuit is godliness. This is your character as a new creature in Christ Jesus. Manliness means like a man; characteristic of a man. Godliness means like God; characteristic of God.
“And you are telling me that I am a godly person. How can that be?”
You are a Godly new creature because you are in Christ Jesus. You have Christ living in you to perform this godly life through you.
“How will He perform?”
Like His Father–like God. Godliness is the essence of your character now and others will see you as a Godly man because of your character.
“Does this mean I will always perform in keeping with my character?”
Hardly. But if you accept by faith that you are godly, you will begin to “act godly” because you will “live out” what you believe about yourself! You are growing in your knowledge of Christ and of what He accomplished for you at the cross. You are learning to walk in God’s grace.
Faith is your third pursuit. Faith is simply living like God tells the truth. Faith is believing God.
“I believe–so I have faith. Now what am I to believe? That He lives in me and through me. I believe that I am a righteous new creature in Christ. I believe that Christ living through me will live a godly life. God said it. That settles it. I believe it.”
Love is our next pursuit and love is to be your motivation in everything you do–from reading a bedtime story to your children to loving your spouse to working with those people hiding in their little cubicles at your job. No other motivation is acceptable to God. Love is the driving force within us–love compels us. First and foremost is your passionate love for God, which will be your referee and “blow the whistle” when you are not being loving. Next is your love for others and as you love, you will become compassionate, understanding, forgiving, dedicated, kind, etc. You will exemplify love in every aspect of your life. Once again, grace is your tutor, your motivation, your strength, etc.
“What is perseverance?”
(Perseverance: to continue a course of action in spite of difficulty)
Perseverance is my mind-set. Jesus set His face like flint even though He knew what lay before Him–suffering, rejection, humiliation, and crucifixion. He didn’t waver. He had no misconceptions about the plans. Yet He persevered and He will do the same through me! I am to persevere in my relationship with God and with His Son, Jesus Christ, not flinching, not wavering, persevering. And perseverance is not subdued by criticism, rejection, suffering, or loneliness. Being steadfast is the essence of perseverance.
Gentleness is our last pursuit. Gentleness describes your behavior. Gentle is a soft word. It is a pleasant word. You “feel” that word–gentle. The word comes to life as you hold a newborn baby, as you brush the hair off your little girl’s brow when she is hot with fever, when you pick up a small wounded animal, etc. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:5: (NAS) Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near (NAS). Have a reputation for gentleness and never forget the nearness of your Lord (JBP). Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do (TLB).
“So, as a man of God I am to present to my world a picture of God in all I do and say. Impossible! Unless I accept the fact that Jesus lives IN me to live this ‘man of God’ life for me and through me. I am righteous, I am godly, my faith is unwavering, my love controls me, and I can persevere with gentleness. How? Because Jesus is the essence of all those things, and He lives in me! I truly am a man of God.”
by Anabel Gilham