Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Tim. 6:11b)
This is the the topic of my second posting in this series and the second mark of a godly man. These marks can be found in a sermon by John MacArthur called “4 Marks of the Man of God“. The structure of this verse in 1 Timothy is perfect because after a don’t command is given we are given a do command. If we are command to flee from something we, in turn, should be running after something. The greek verb for “pursue” actually tranlates to “follow after”. We are commanded to flee from the temporary lures of this world and to follow after the eternal in righeousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. In his sermon John MacArthur focuses on the godliness in these attributes we are to pursue, and so will I.
Godliness is about thinking rightly. We need to allow God to sanctify our minds and hearts and cultivate godliness. The apostle Paul obviously considers godliness to be critical to the man who desires to serve God as a church leader. So much so that he mentions godliness nine times in the pastoral epistles known as 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. The godliness Paul was pursuing influenced him to write:
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:27 ESV)
The NIV replaces the word “discipline” with “beat”. Paul’s attitude was to beat back the natural desires of the flesh in order to keep from being disqualified as a preacher and bring shame on the Lord. This is serious business. I’ll leave this posting with a quote MacArthur uses to conclude this mark. It is a quote from Charles Bridges. (circa 1794 – 1869):
If we should study the Bible more as ministers than as Christians, more to find matter for the instruction of our people than food for the nourishment of our own souls, we neglect to place ourselves at the feet of our divine teacher. Our communion with Him is cut off and we become mere formalists in sacred profession. We cannot feed ourselves by feeding others.