But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.1 Timothy 6:11, ESV
In last week’s passage, we learned Timothy was not just supposed to deal with the false teachers. He also needed to make sure that he never became like one of them himself.
You may have heard that old phrase, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” and there’s some scary truth to those words. I’ve seen many times over the years how easily people can become the very thing that they used to fight against. Often, it’s not a deliberate process. It “just happens” as they drop their guard and stop fighting.
How do we avoid this? What is the secret to long-term endurance in faith and ministry? The answer is just that: long term endurance. We never quit.
Just think about those commands Timothy received:
- “Flee these things” (1 Timothy 6:11a). If something is chasing you, if doesn’t matter if you do a great job fleeing for a period of time. If you stop fleeing, it will get you.
- “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11b). If you are pursuing something, it doesn’t matter how well you have been chasing it. If you stop, it’s going to get away.
- “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12a). In a battle, it doesn’t matter how well you fought. If you stop fighting now, you’re going to loose.
- “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12b). If you take hold of something, you will only obtain it if you keep holding on to it.
- “Keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14). It only takes one stain to make something dirty. Keeping the commandment unstained and free from reproach requires continual care and vigilance.
So many professing Christians only ever try to avoid sin and dabble in the fruit of the spirit and reach out for eternal life every once in a while. This passive approach to the faith is a sure path to wasting your life and often, sadly, wandering away from the faith entirely.
1 Timothy 6:11-16 shows us that the Christian life is one of motion and action. One of fleeing, pursuing, fighting, holding on, and keeping, all empowered by the Spirit, all for the glory of God, and none of it stopping until we are at rest in the presence of Christ.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.2 Timothy 4:7–8, ESV