Daily Readings and Thought for November 23rd. “FLEE THESE THINGS. PURSUE …”
Today we completed reading Paul’s first letter to Timothy who was his “true child in the faith.” [1 v.2] There are so many lessons for us for our days in these 2 letters; they reveal the wonder of a genuine spiritual relationship.
In today’s final chapter Paul details warnings to Timothy – “if anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the soundwords of our Lord Jesus Christ…” [v.3] he or she, in reality “understands nothing” [v,4] that really matters. Let us realize that the “doctrine” referred to by Paul here is unChristlike attitudes and behaviour, rather than wrong intellectual perceptions; but of course such perceptions are often a foundation for such behaviour: for example Paul says, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” [v.10]
Paul calls Timothy “a man of God” [v.11]. What a challenging thing to be called! Dare we call each other – ‘a man (or woman) of God? As a “man of God’ Timothy is to set the example to other believers, and that surely includes ourselves. Timothy is to “flee these things” and instead, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” [v.11]. We ponder what a thought-challenging word is the word “pursue”! To effectively “pursue” something – you need to have your eyes fixed on it – if you are to have any real expectation of catching it!
Paul sees it as something you “fight” for – he tells Timothy to “Fight the good fight of the faith.” Did we have to “fight” for our faith?
Paul then tells Timothy to, “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called …” [v.12] We have to “pursue” it, in order to effectively ”take hold” of it. In doing the same, let us learn to “flee” all other “things” in the process. Those who wage a successful “fight” are, Paul tells Timothy, genuine believers who are, “storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” [v.19]. In this way they make sure they keep themselves “free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [v.14] And how soon will that be!?