Sometimes it takes a friendly game of touch football to drive home a point. It was over thanksgiving week with some good friends – our clan against theirs. It wasn’t long before running back and forth across the yard got me tuckered out. Yes, I am sadly out of shape – but that’s the point of this blog.
A few days ago I read 1 Timothy 6:3-11 (NIV):
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Two key words struck me – especially as I thought about the front yard football game – “FLEE” and “PURSUE”. Two things Paul instructs Timothy – flee what is ungodly and leads to ruin, pursue a lifestyle and attitude that is holy and life-giving.
I realized that when I am spiritually out of shape I get too easily winded and give up my fleeing and pursuing. I get tuckered out too quickly and I end up sitting too close to the mess and too far from the holy. When we lose our spiritual steam the bad looks not-so-bad and the good seems too unreachable. All the more reason for us to persevere in our daily spiritual exercise.
Prayer and fasting, and meditating on Scripture, and journaling our thoughts – all these things strengthen us for the moments we need to move quickly. When temptations come up are we ready to run away from the call of the tempter? When the call to live a more Godly life lies before us, or God calls us to take on new opportunities, do we pursue it with vigor and every ounce of energy? Or, are we too spiritually weak and easily winded?
Run for your life. Run toward God every day – jog if you have to, walk if you must, but move in His direction. It’s the only way you will truly know the life He has for you. Remember: “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6)
Holy high five to you, Mike