11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.
Paul was one of the most prolific writers among the early followers of Jesus. Thirteen of the letters included in our New Testament come to us under Paul’s name and influence. The early church considered Paul’s words to churches and church leaders to be scripture – the very Word of God. In wondering what God might say to us in our time, I have been reading the closing remarks in some of Paul’s letters.
Where lots of Paul’s letters were addressed to churches and groups of Christians, there is a smaller group of letters known as the “Pastoral Epistles.” In “the Pastorals” we find Paul, the pastor/mentor, writing to a younger ministry companions.
In much of I Timothy, Paul is sharing ministry advice with the young pastor Timothy. As he wraps up the letter, in the middle part of the last chapter, Paul has just completed his warning that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10). He then talks about what Timothy should acquire as he kept living the life God had laid out for him. The list is pretty solid, as Timothy is encouraged to pursue:
Each of those traits can take a while to define. (You might want to go to biblegateway.com or some other resource and follow each of these words through scripture.) Incorporating these six characteristics into daily living may just keep us grounded in God, and help our journey in these days.
God of grace and glory, help me to define righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness to the point that these traits help define my life as I live it as a disciple of my Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen.