There was a passage from 1 Timothy in the One-Year that I highlighted this morning. Paul is giving his closing words to Timothy, and summarizes his entire encouragement to his young friend and son in Christ in this passage:

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11–12)

Paul tells him to totally ignore nonsensical arguments about unimportant things and to stay far away from the dangers of immorality and greed. Instead, Timothy should be different. He should run far and away from anything that would hinder from from pursuing and holding on tight to the eternal life he has already been called to.

I highlighted this passage because it is the right way to live, explained in the simplest of terms, and defined in two sentences. Flee from anything that leads to hindrance or evil or compromise, and instead live in a way that is righteous and godly. Faith, love, patience and gentleness are not only things the world needs more of all the time, but are behaviors that God expects from us.

While this letter was written between two specific people, the context is still an older, experienced Christian encouraging a younger man to live like the man of God he already is. I may not be in the same position as Timothy is in my life (right now, anyway), but I was still caught by the title Paul identifies with Timothy: “But you, O man of God…”.

I’m not Timothy, but that’s me. It is for all young Christians, but especially for young men. Paul reminds Timothy, and all of us, to ignore and reject what the world expects and teaches young men, and even what some misguided believers may teach.

Flee from all immorality, and live with faith, love, patience and gentleness.

Be sincere and strong, but immediately gentle and boundlessly patient.

Be the kind of man that Jesus was when He walked the Earth. You were called to live that way, and you have committed, with your own words, to live that way.

Live counter to what the world around you expects. Live righteously and with godliness, not carelessly or licentiously.

Walk in faith and love, not full of anxiety or nursing grudges. Be patient and gentle, not a blunt instrument with no self-control.

Fight the good fight, stand up for things that really matter; live as if eternity is making note. Live the way Jesus paid for.

It seems like quite the challenge, but there’s not a single line in this letter that suggests that Paul believes that Timothy is anything but fully capable of doing it. He knew that Timothy wasn’t alone, and that he had been taught well.

If Timothy could do it, we can do the same thing. Besides; Paul doesn’t make living this way optional for Timothy, and neither does Jesus. It’s the best road to walk, and the only way to stay free and sane in this world.