Paul really loved Timothy. For years he had carefully nurtured him in the principles of godliness and leadership and our Scripture for today is Paul’s final charge to a much-loved disciple of the Lord and helper of Paul. In the earlier chapters, Paul describes many of the ungodly things that were open temptations to Christian leaders, especially greed, the love of money and the more obvious temptations. And in verse 11, Paul addresses Timothy and says, “But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
From these Scriptures we can pick out three vital words which are relevant to each and every one of us: Flee – Pursue – Guard. These three words embrace the whole of the Christian walk, and are of vital significance to us all, including, and perhaps especially for those whom God has called to follow Him in any form of Christian leadership, in the family or the Church.
The temptations we must FLEE from will vary according to what things we have been vulnerable to in the past. We all know what those things are. Paul’s advice is brief and succinct – flee! Don’t stand there thinking about it – just flee! As you would do, if a tsunami wave was travelling up the beach. If Satan could personally tempt Jesus in the wilderness, let’s not think that any of us can be above being tempted and, unlike Jesus, falling into sin. Satan loves to paralyse us with a tsunami of temptations – we need to be always wearing our spiritual running shoes!
It is, surely, obvious what objectives we must PURSUE. In verse 11 Paul lists these out as righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness and urges us to “fight the good fight of faith and take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”
And, finally, Paul tells Timothy to GUARD what had been entrusted to him and take care. I suggest that it would be helpful to spend some time with the Lord meditating on everything He has entrusted to you. If necessary, spend some time in repentance if you have ”wandered away”, as Paul puts it. And then renew your commitment to follow Him all your days, making a note to regularly do a FLEE-PURSUE-GUARD health check on your walk with the Lord.
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