Paul used fighting words in his challenge to Timothy. He said that if you are going to fight, then fight for this.
But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.
Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6.11-12).
Paul’s list of admirable qualities matches the number of vices mentioned earlier in this chapter. Let’s examine the virtues Paul challenges us to pursue.
(1) Righteousness is conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action.
(2) Godliness is best pictured by the attitudes and actions of Jesus. We will live godly lives when we conform to Jesus’ teaching, attitudes, and behavior.
(3) Faith involves reliance on the Lord. People of faith live in an abiding relationship with Jesus.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15.5).
The kind of faith that Jesus defines produces faithful behavior. Faithful people can be counted on to be honest and dependable.
(4) Love describes God’s love for humans along with human love for God and others.
Jesus defined love through his words and deeds: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15.13).
He described how humans love God. “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15.10).
(5) Endurance is the ability to remain under a load.
Like Timothy, we need the ability to stay faithful to the Lord, while being tempted and trampled by the world’s system.
Endurance in Greek is a compound word. One part of the word is “abide” or “remain.” Notice the passages from John’s Gospel where “abide” or “remain” is mentioned.
The power to endure lies in remaining in an abiding relationship with Jesus.
(6) Gentleness or meekness pictures power under control. A wild horse is useless until it has come under the control of its owner.
“Check your ego at the door” is a modern expression that captures the value of having human power under control with regard to others.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5.18) is being activated, captivated, and motivated by the Spirit. We will fulfill the Biblical understanding of “gentleness” when we live like this.
When we embrace these six virtues we will “fight the good fight of the faith and take hold of the eternal life to which we have been called.”
We will be the good witness to the plans and purposes of God for which we have been called.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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