Good morning and Welcome to Wednesday’s podcast. I hope you are keeping well and looking out for those around you this week. Let us look back on this time in the future and see that we have taken every opportunity to love and serve those around us.
Before we read today’s passage I’d like to ask a question… In our Christian faith, what are we aiming for?
Yes, simple answer, to become more like Jesus… but let’s drill down into that a little more. What does becoming more like Jesus look like? What are we aiming for?
A few years ago I began wrestling with this question. Yes, it’s good to read the bible and pray, but the Pharisees in the time of Jesus were great at this. Jesus told them time and again that in their diligence they had missed the point entirely. So as we come to church, meet together, wrestle with the bible and pray what are we hoping to achieve? What transformation does Jesus want to do in our heads and our hearts? What should we be chasing after?
Today’s reading is helpful in pointing us beyond the practices into the heart of God for us. Today our reading is from 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 11 to 16 but I am going to focus on verse 11 which says this…
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Flee…? as we heard in yesterdays reading, Paul is referring here to fleeing the love of money… Run Away!
To Flee is to run from something dangerous towards a place of safety. To flee is like prey running from its hunter, back to its den. Or a child running from a bully into the arms of a parent.
Are we aware that there are things of this world that we are to flee from? How is that going? And at the top of this list is money? I wonder how many of our day to day decisions are based on money: getting it, being careful with it, fearing losing it or not having enough… Don’t we know that we have a Father in heaven who loves us?
This is just Paul’s introduction… flee the love of money… but he goes on to challenge Timothy and by extension us… to pursue…
To pursue to turn the tables, to flip things around. Rather than fleeing from a predator we now become the hunter chasing down our pray!
Paul writes pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness… chase them, track them, seek them, pursue them until they can run no more… capture them and make them our own.
First up “Righteousness” – a simple definition – Giving what we owe to both God and to others. So what do we owe God? We owe God everything, our very lives, because of what Jesus did on the cross! And to other people, what do we owe them? Well, Paul writes in Romans… we owe others just one thing… a continuing debt to love one another. To go the extra mile, to turn the other cheek, to serve, to bless, to put ourselves out…
Next “godliness” – We looked at this in some detail yesterday but in short ‘godliness’ is living life in the continual awareness of the presence of God. Pursue it… pursue a constant connection with the father. Seek his presence until he fills our every moment…
And then it’s “faith” – This isn’t just about believing in God, faith is “God’s divine persuasion.” God persuades us that he is who he says he is and is able to do the very things that he has promised. We draw close, we step out, we experience God’s protection, power and provision… and the tiny seed of faith grows until it fills us and overtakes every aspect of our lives.
And then “Love”… Love is to live in a way that, will never forget what God has done for us and God’s great love toward those around us.
Endurance… Endurance isn’t acceptance of how it is… no Endurance is victorious, steadfast under fire in both faith and devotion. Endurance doesn’t simply accept the challenges of life, but through patience, conquers every single one.
Gentleness – gentleness is far from being timid, this is a spirit that walks with humility and yet immense pride in its favoured position before God; a spirit that remembers the shame of being a sinner but also the glory of being a son of God.
11 But you, man of God, flee from [the love of money], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
What has God got your attention with this morning… which of these qualities are you going to pursue today, righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance or gentleness?
And what will you do about it today?
Father thank you for spelling out for us clearly the kind of qualities that you want to grow in our lives. Help us to flee the things that will do us harm and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Teach us Lord, show us how, amen.
BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
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. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might for ever. Amen.