Flee, Follow and Fight

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

“Run from these things; but pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

We tend to simplify what it takes to live a successful Christian life. In the minds of most believers one is a good Christian if he goes to church, prays, does what is good, and tries to live according to Godʼs laws. There is nothing wrong with that, but a victorious life of serving God is much more complex. The Apostle Paul writes to his young protege, Timothy, and advises him that contending for the faith is a battle, and that it involves conscientious efforts both negative and positive.

This focus passage in 1 Timothy 6:11 first says to “run from these things.” It obviously has reference to what was discussed in the previous verses. Paul had warned about the love of money, describing it as a snare which plunges men to ruin. His contentment was to be in godliness, not in the material things of life.

One does not have to have a lot of money to be vulnerable to it eroding oneʼs faith. Being deprived of things the more affluent enjoy can easily create resentment and self- pity. It can create a covetous heart of discontent. We are to flee the allure of materialistic values and the things of the world if we are to find fulfillment in God and things of eternal value.

While fleeing carnal values, Paul reminds Timothy that there are other things he is to pursue or follow. I like the image of chasing after that which makes a difference in our life. These include righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. The list almost replicates the listing of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22. These characteristics donʼt come naturally, even for a believer; they come from a conscious yielding to the Spiritʼs presence.

But one has to be intentional in following such a lifestyle. Righteousness or holiness and godliness come only from God and having been made righteous by the blood of Christ. Love is other-centered and comes only when one deliberately and continually dies to self. Gentleness in the face of opposition and perseverance in trials are a reality when our faith and confidence in God is real.

One must not only flee that which is wrong and undesirable and follow that which is good and right, but we are reminded the Christian is always going to be engaged in a fight for the faith. We have an enemy who wants to defeat us and rob us of all the precious promises we have in Christ, but faith is the victory. Satan would devour us, but we resist him, firm in our faith. The shield of faith deflects all his fiery darts of lies and deceit. It is not just a faith that once trusted in Jesus as Savior, it is faith to believe Godʼs word and all He has said about the assurance of victory.

When we flee, follow and fight we lay hold on eternal life and our life “is a good confession before many witnesses.” You see, others are watching us; they observe the kind of life we live. What will they witness? Will it be a walk that reflects our talk and what we confess to believe? So, flee those things of the world, follow all that we have been given in Christ Jesus, and continue to fight the fight of faith in believing God and claiming the victory!

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