Do you ever find yourself in a place where you wish you could get some good advice? What should I do in this situation, and how should I proceed? Young Timothy, Paul’s assistant, found himself in that place as he tried to deal with some very complicated problems at Ephesus. There were some of his leaders under his authority who had departed from the faith and were teaching heresy. They had stopped preaching Jesus Christ as the center of their message. Timothy was asked to confront them and bring order out of the chaos. At the same time, the Apostle Paul gave him some good advice as to how he should try to live out each day of his life. The advice works for us as it did for Timothy: “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” (1 Tim 6:11-12).
Paul gave Timothy four commands that can be remembered easily. They are simply Flee, Pursue, Fight, and Take Hold Of. Paul exhorts Timothy to flee any situation that had the appearance of evil, whether it was a religious controversy, materialism, or sexual temptation. Flight is sometimes our best option as it was for Joseph in sexual temptation. Fleeing that moment preserved Joseph’s character.
Secondly, Paul told Timothy what to pursue. He gave him three pairs of pursuits, the first being righteousness and godliness, which is our relationship with God and people. One God does for us, and the other we do for ourselves. Secondly, he told him to pursue faith and love. Without an authentic faith, we will never know God’s love. These two virtues are worth our pursuit. Finally, he told him to pursue endurance with gentleness. What contrasting qualities—one is hard as steel and the other soft as cotton and yet both are needed in our lives. We need to be strong in our convictions and yet gentle in our spirit.
Next, Paul commanded Timothy to Fight. Paul was a fighter, and those who followed him learned to fight the fight of faith. Timothy was being asked to keep his eye on the prize, which is Jesus Christ, and run hard in the race. “Give it all you have, Timothy.”
The last command Paul gave Timothy in this passage is to Take Hold of Eternal Life. We all receive eternal life when we accept Christ as our savior, but we don’t all live as if we have hold of it. That is what Paul is talking about.
What motivates us even more is to know that we are living our lives in the presence of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, “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” (1 Tim 6:13-14).