Man of faith. . . pursue

1 Timothy_6-11Recently I did not have an Internet connection one morning, and I could not access BibleGateway.com to start off my day with the Verse of the Day. As I made my morning cup of tea, I noticed a special cup that my daughter had used the night before. On the outside of the black ceramic cup was the inscription “Blessed is a Man of Faith.” Around the light green rim which had been widened and flattened to a degree were these words: As for you, man of God. . .pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness—1 Timothy 6:11. I read the verse and smiled, thinking I’ll let this be my personal Verse of the Day. God seemed to be speaking directly to me, as I considered deeply the word that Paul directed to Timothy, his true son in the faith:

Pursue

The word pursue is translated from the Greek word dioko, which has been translated “to pursue, to follow after, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire.” Clearly, to pursue is to put forth effort; it is an active verb with an object of pursuit in mind.

Righteousness

Matthew 6:33 reminds us of what should be our priority:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

Indeed, righteousness is a vital component of the Kingdom of God:

For the Kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 4:17).

Andrew Womack comments regarding various aspects of the Greek word translated righteousness. “This word refers to our actions toward others (equity of character or actions) as well as our relationship with God (justification). Our relationship (righteousness) with God is an accomplished fact, but our godly actions toward others must be walked out daily.”

As believers, we should always desire to live righteously and pursue righteousness.

Godliness

Godliness refers to a true and vital spiritual relationship. With any relationship, both individuals must be mutually committed and intentional in their desire to see that the relationship continues to grow and thrive.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4 that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Faith

Faith, the bedrock of my life, is defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is essential to living a successful Christian life. Hebrews 11 reminds us that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” For us, faith is the essence of life itself, for the just shall live by faith.

Love

In addition to pursuing faith, the man of God is to pursue the love of God or agape. With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. We speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Not only is this the verse so often referred to during the time of the celebration of the resurrection, but this is a verse for all seasons.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in this poem by John Oxenham:

Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives.

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give

 

Endurance

As one of the fruit of the spirit, “patience” is translated: “to stay, remain, abide”, literally “abiding under.” As a verb it figuratively means, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, to persevere — abide, endure. The essence of the word involves the yielding of the will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy. It is a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies God, not merely to grin and bear it.

The epitome of patience in an individual is Job, whom Chuck Swindoll described as a “man of heroic endurance.” One of the spiritual principles that the Book of Job demonstrates is that God is “full of compassion and tender mercy” and that he rewards those who demonstrate “patience.” The scriptures offer this reminder: “You have need of patience, that after that you have done the will of the Lord you might receive the promise.” As I pursue patience, I am patiently waiting.

Gentleness

Here we find yet another the fruit of the spirit which is often associated with meekness. Stanley Horton comments that “Gentleness includes true humility that does not consider itself too good or too exalted for humble tasks.”

Paul also instructs Timothy regarding this quality: The servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves.

As I sipped my tea while considering the words of 1 Timothy 6:11, I thought of this poem that express my deepest yearning to follow Paul’s exhortation:

The Proof of Desire

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts,

but especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1

The proof of desire is pursuit.

Mike Murdock

In each new season may my life abound with fruit,

As I follow after God and seek His favor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

This passion to please is my relentless pursuit,

As I seek to taste His goodness and to savor.

In each new season may my life abound with fruit.

As a seasoned tree is strengthened from leaf to root,

I flow with fullness of joy as I labor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

Though I may seek as silver His wisdom and truth,

This life swiftly passes, fleeting as a vapor.

In each new season may my life abound with fruit.

I have yearned for God’s presence, even as a youth.

I now forsake all to scale the heights of Mount Tabor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

I ever seek to know God’s will and to do it,

To follow in the steps of Jesus, my Savior.

In each new season may my life abound with fruit,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

The verse that I designate as my personal Verse of the Day also brings to mind the Don Moen song: “My Soul Follows Hard after Thee”:

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