“But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” — 1 Timothy 6:11 (NASB)
Avoiding Shipwreck — Pursue These Things
As an NFL chaplain, I helped lead the first substance abuse program on an NFL team for nine years. The psychiatrist in the group pushed the athletes to avoid whatever triggered their abuse. He threatened, challenged and lectured the athletes on what they should “not do.”
But it wasn’t enough to just flee. The men who recovered were the ones who added a second action to fleeing — they pursued the things of God.
In the context of this verse, the Apostle Paul says we avoid a shipwreck of our faith by fleeing the desires that lead to temptation, entrapment and destruction … and by pursuing what deepens our relationship with God. Flee sin; pursue God.
Paul is describing the difference between being passive and being active in our faith. We are passive about our faith when we only try to avoid doing certain things. If we don’t pursue God, we are still prone to drift in any direction. To pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness, we must set a new course.
These words describe a growing relationship with God. Righteousness is holy living. Godliness is a God-centered life. Faith is trusting God. Love is being others-centered. Perseverance is holding the course. Gentleness is strength under control.
They don’t just happen. Growing our faith requires active pursuit.
Here is the test: Would you improve your athletic performance if you applied the same intensity that you apply to your walk with God? If you are an athlete you know the difference. Active engagement is required to grow.
Avoid the drift. Get into the Word daily. Ask God what He wants of your life. Spend time with others who pursue God.
– Tom Petersburg
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