But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim. 6:11-12)
Those words have always felt like a personal challenge to me. Paul (if it’s him!) has just written of the temptations of wealth and will come back to warning of the dangers of comfort and greed. Here he’s setting out a different, better way which brings its own happiness and wealth with it.
Instead of wealth, Timothy is called to seek qualities of character and Christlike nature. And this is tied, for Timothy, to the way in which he carries out the ministry entrusted to him. There’s no hint that it’s going to be easy; Paul writes of the ‘good fight of the faith’, and there’s work to be done.
But at the foundation of Timothy’s call to ministry is his call to discipleship and transformation. Before he can fight the good fight, he must pursue true character – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.
What would these characteristics look like lived out in my life? How about yours? And what’s in the way?