1Ti 6:11-12 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
In the previous verses, Paul has talked about the love of money. He has called attention to the benefit of contentment within the bounds of godliness. He has instructed us to speak the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. We have been warned of the rotten thinking that results from our pride and lustful desires.
Now Paul gives instruction to the “man of God.” That statement should cause us to do some deep reflection in our lives. If these words are for us, then it is a tacit admission that we understand that God has called us to serve Him. We understand, with great humility, that if God has called us it is also God that has enabled us.
Being considered by others as a man of God is a heavy responsibility as well as a great privilege. I recognize that there is nothing in my carnal nature or my own ability that would grant me such a recognition. Considering it in the bounds of my own weakness would cause this to be a burden I could not bear. If I am a man of God, it is only because God has made me so according to His own good pleasure.
Although I know my own failings, I also readily admit that He has caused to want to be a man of God. I do not desire it so that I might have accolades from men, but because I know that He is worthy for me to be His man. He has made us, quickened us, and shown us great love and mercy. Surely, He deserves for us to be His man and not to seek our own way.
In order to fulfill this desire to be a man of God, we must flee those things that would cause us to be discontent. To flee our lust does not mean to simply stand and push against, but to shun those things that would lead us to say or do things that are not godly. However, our fleeing is not a blind run in any old direction: to flee these things we must follow after something.
The man of God must pursue just living (righteousness), with Jesus being our example. We are to press toward those things that we know are pleasing to our Heaven Father (godliness). We must hold to Christ as our only source of salvation (faith). Our lives are to be a feast of love to God by loving our brethren.
We need to pursue true patience. The root of this word does not simply mean to endure something: it means to have a “cheerful” endurance (see Strong’s). When we are blessed to have a cheerful endurance, then we are also able to be gentle (meek). This is what it means to be a man of God.
It is interesting that Paul would follow his instruction to be gentle with the encouragement to fight. We need to fight (contend) the good fight of faith with love and gentleness. In fighting the good fight of faith, we lay hold on eternal life. This is not an instruction on how to become a child of God.
The eternal life we lay hold on is already ours. If we lay hold on something that is not ours, it is called stealing. Paul is telling us that in living as a man of God, we can handle the very eternal things of God with reverence. Our life is not bound up in earthly chains but rather honors Him.
Man, as used here, means “man faced” or a human being. In other words, this refers to all who are called to serve God without respect to gender. These words are true for brothers and sisters in Christ. We are brothers and sisters because God our Father has called us to this eternal life.
These are not just Paul’s words. God has bidden us (called) that we should walk in this life that He has given. He has chosen us to love godly things. When we lay hold on this eternal life, we are making manifest to others that our confidence is in God.
When we truly acknowledge our life to be that of a man of God, it is not boasting in what we have done. It is the exact opposite of that. The only way to profess a good profession is to live in a way that gives God all the glory. We should live this way before everyone we meet.
May we, as humble people of God, raise high His banner of love and mercy as we live our eternal life!