What is the most important thing in life? Family? Travel? Making $$? Reputation? Status? Leisure? Vacation home? Playing video games? Retirement? Freedom from responsibility? If someone examined your checkbook and calendar, what would they conclude is most important to you?
As Christ followers, we are to fight for what matters most. According to 1 Timothy 6:11-16, Christ followers are known by what they flee from, follow after, fight for, fasten on to, and are faithful to.
There are times when we are to stand and fight. There are other times when we are to run for our lives. When we come face to face with the temptation of materialism (9-10), we are to flee (11a). Some stand so close to temptation that they have chalk on their toes. Others flee temptation but leave a forwarding address.
Rather than merely fleeing from temptation, we are to run to God. In a culture that ends conversations with “Take it easy,” and “Don’t work too hard,” Christ followers are to actively pursue six spiritual virtues (11b). Righteousness refers to our horizontal relationship with people while godliness focuses on our vertical relationship with God. Faith aims at deepening our beliefs while love helps us put it into practice with others. Steadfastness keeps us going forward when we’d like to quit while gentleness helps us respond properly when life doesn’t go our way.
In addition to fleeing temptation and following after virtue, we are to fight for what matters most (12a). “Fight” is used both of military and athletic contests and speaks of the concentration, discipline, conviction, and effort needed to win. We are to fight for the faith—the body of Christian truth, the contents of the Word of God.
We are also to fasten on to eternal life (12b). We need the same kind of passion that Charlie Brown has for baseball. Whether it is raining or snowing, whether he just gave up nine home runs, he still gathers his team and wants to play another game. Rather than believe that eternal life starts when we die, we need to understand that it starts when we trust Christ for salvation. Consequently, we need to get a grip of the reality of eternal life so that we might live and minister in light of eternity.
Paul says that a Christ follower is known by what they flee from, follow after, fight for, and fasten on to. They are also known by what they are faithful to (13-14). We are to guard, protect, and proclaim the truth of God’s Word.
Paul closes this passage with a doxology of praise to God (13-16). We praise God because he gives life to all things, Christ will return soon, he is blessed, he reigns as Sovereign King and Lord, he is immortal, and he dwells in transcendent holiness.
Rather than be distracted by minor issues, rather than live a purposeless existence, let’s fight for what matters most. Let’s flee sin, follow after virtue, fight for the faith, fasten on to eternal life today, and stay faithful to the Word of God.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, on May 11, 2014. It is part of a series on 1 Timothy. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.