We find the term Man of God written several times through-out the Old Testament and by Paul in the New, specifically in 1 Timothy 6:11. Here Paul gives Timothy four key commands that distinguish Timothy as a Man of God. Those four key commands are discovered by four words:
FLEE! In verse eleven Paul tells Timothy to flee from "these things?" These are lined out in the first ten verses. First, Timothy is told to instruct slaves to respect their masters, and if their master is a Christian, they are to respect them even more so. So, a Man of God flees from disrespect. Second, Paul warns Timothy about unsound teachings. Teachings not based on Jesus and the apostles, but teachings contrived by arrogant men who lust for power and control. The Man of God must flee from unsound, unorthodox, and false teaching. Third, Paul speaks of being content. The Tenth Commandment tells us not to covet, which speaks to the heart of a man who is not content, always wanting what everyone else has. So, flee from coveteousness. Fourth and most applicable the man of God must flee from the love of money. Oh, how this love (lust) conquers many a man and actually causes them to lose what is most valuable - the love of a wife, children, home, respect from colleagues. Money, like any thing this world offers, will never satisfy a man.
Pursue. While a man of God flees those things he must be vigilantly moving forward after good things. Paul lists six virtues.
- Righteousness, this is an external display of your actions and words. Would you say you do and say things that are righteous, worthy of acknowledgement?
- Godliness, this is the internal joy of the heart. Do you pursue being more like Jesus? He is our Master and Commander for all of life's battles and operations.
- Faith is an unwavering trust in God as your sole desire.
- Love is self-sacrificing, others first (including enemies), seeking anothers best interests above your own, kind of action. This is a choice you make everyday. No one falls in love and no one especially falls in love with an enemy. Love is a choice you must choose to put into effect.
- Perseverance is finishing the marathon. Life, and the Christian life inparticular, is not a sprint, but a long, long marathon. Some of us will endure more than others, but we must all endure to recieve the crown of life. This is one of the surest tests of our own salvation - do we endure to the end for Christ no matter what circumstances we find ourselves under? No man should assume he is spiritually safe when hard times hit and he runs from God and only returns to Him when things become pleasant again.
- The last of the virtues is gentleness, this is humility, mercy, kindness in action. A man's first instinct is to lash out at enemies, but not so with Christ. He always shows mercy. So must we. God is the final arbitor and judge of each man's life.
Fight! A Man of God contends for the Christian faith. The world hates Christ, your own flesh hates obedience to Christ, and Satan despises his Maker. All three create an incredible axis of evil that a Man of God must fight against. This will take many forms in life, but the harshest fight, the Normandy invasion for every man will be his own heart. What a man chooses to fight for in his heart regarding the faith God grants will display what he truly fights for in life. Many a church has fallen prey to these enemies because some kind-hearted man didn't want to squelch another's spirit. Our fear of man has become collosal compared to our fear of God. Don't we truly fear God who takes the body and soul? Why do we dance around sin as if it is a "life choice." A Man of God will rise up and call another to account. It is better we call account of one another now and win or lose then wait until that sure day when we will all give account before the Great Judge of the universe. Better to contend with one another now while there is still time to repent than on that day when our fate will be sealed. Where are the Men of God who will call sin sin and not allow its dirty face in our marriages, families, churches, and communities?
KEEP! We must keep these commandments. In the context of First Timothy this would be guarding the Gospel message. Within the context of the NEw Testament, this would be the Gospel. The Gospel message - Christ's atonement on the cross as the elect's substitute, His death, His resurrection - these must be kept. This understanding of the Christian faith is absolutely essential for all other teachings.
Oh, that there would be more Men of God. FLEEING from earthly distractions, PURSUING those virtuous characteristics of Jesus, FIGHTING for the distinctiveness of our faith, and KEEPING the Gospel central in all we do.