Flee, Follow, Fight
"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."1
The religious leaders of Christ's day, especially the Pharisees, outwardly lived by the letter of the law. They prided themselves in their good works and their strict religiosity. If you hear what Jesus had to say to some of them, one would be hard-pressed to call them godly or "men of God." They had religion but they didn't have godliness nor did they have a right relationship with God.
A vital part of being involved in godliness, as the Apostle Paul admonished Timothy, is to: "Flee …Follow … Fight … and to Lay hold on eternal life.
FLEE. First, is that we flee or avoid the following actions: 1) Not standing for sound doctrine as taught in God's Word, the Bible. No matter what I am taught by my church or anyone else, if it is not in harmony with or is contrary to God's Word, it is not from God. Quite possibly man-made doctrines may be sending more people to hell than anything else. 2) The man or woman of God is to avoid having false motives, and 3) He/she is to avoid falling into the trap of materialism. In the broader context, the godly person is also to avoid greed, selfishness, gossip, immorality and all sins of commission and omission.
FOLLOW. Second, the man or woman of God needs to follow these characteristics: 1) Righteousness (right living). 2) Godliness (godly living). 3) Faith. 4) Love. 5) Patience, and 6) Meekness.
FIGHT. The godly person is also instructed to fight the good fight of faith; that is, to take a stand and fight for justice, purity, honesty, moral living, ministering to the poor and the hungry; taking care of the elderly; and being God's agents in every area of life. In other words, we are to hate and fight against the things God hates—things that are destructive to those whom God loves—and love and fight for the things that God loves. Furthermore, we are to fight for the "supreme task of the church" which is the evangelization of the world. That is, we are to do everything in our power to reach every person in the world with the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.
LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE. Finally, the godly person is to lay hold on eternal life; that is, to live with eternal values in mind and to make absolutely sure that he/she is on the way that leads to eternal life by committing him/herself to Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life—and the only way into God's heaven and eternal life.2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a man/woman of God—never in a spirit of legalism—but from a grateful heart in appreciation for all that you have done for me, especially in the giving of your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins so I can be freely forgiven and receive your gift of eternal life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (KJV).
2. John 14:6. See also, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.