1 TIMOTHY 6:11-12 – But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
THEME OF THE DAY. WORDS OF EXHORTATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT. Today’s scripture contains strong words of exhortation and encouragement to live out the Christian life with zeal and perseverance. Here is the setting. The Apostle Paul is writing to a young pastor who is struggling. The pressures of pastoral ministry were upon Timothy. He may have even considered “throwing in the towel.” Dear Paul, Timothy’s mentor and brother, speaks with passion from his heart to help him. As one pores through Paul’s words, there are many lessons and applications for us. Yes, this was written “pastor-to-pastor” but the principles hold for our individual walks with the Lord, as well as ways to minister Christian-to-Christian. Here are four.
First, when the Christian life gets hard, remember our identity – O man of God. Such remembrance causes us to recall we are not alone. God is with us no matter how hard the journey gets. He has promised sustaining grace, empowering grace, and His promises never fail.
Another principle of encouragement in living the Christian life is to acknowledge it is supposed to be hard. It is a war – “fight the good fight of the faith”. Sadly, many Christians are slain on the spiritual battlefields of life. And of those casualties, not a few are there because they simply failed to walk in the daily awareness that all of life is a spiritual conflict. Not a day goes by we are not engaged with battles against sin, self, and Satan. Forget this and we will be easy prey for all three of our spiritual foes.
A third word of encouragement and exhortation to keep on keeping on in the Christian life is to exercise self-control and self-discipline to know the Lord – Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. Not only is the Christian life a fight, but it is a strenuous pursuit of Christ demanding the strictest of self-control and self-discipline. Without both, spiritual laziness settles in and no slothful Christian knows the Lord. And remember, eternal life is just that – knowing God (John 17:3).
A final help to keep us diligent in following the Lord is to remember people are watching us and we represent Christ – Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Christians must remember from the dawn of each morning to the end of each day, we are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of His Gospel to shape and direct our lives. There is never a moment believers are absent from watchful eyes. In our homes, living in our neighborhoods, attending social events and community activities, as well as in our places of employment, we are being observed. The question we must ask ourselves is this . . . “Are we giving those watching us a Biblically-accurate picture of the Lord Jesus?” Remember, the message of His Gospel is proclaimed by our words and affirmed by our lives. And we want to never bring discredit to the Lord and His Gospel by ignoring or going slack in either.
May the Lord help us to not only receive words of exhortation and encouragement but to share them. It is our privilege and responsibility to do both.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to represent Your Son in all my relationships, conversations, and actions.”
QUOTE: “Never let a moment go by without thinking we are ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ.”