Solid Biblical Counsel in Unstable Times

Posted on April 2, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Concern for Timothy
The apostle Paul was in prison, but knew he had a job to do. His life on this Earth would be ending soon, but the work of spreading the Gospel must go on.

Much of Paul’s hopes and aspirations rested on his “son in the faith,” Timothy. The young man was the head of the church at Ephesus, and he was encountering various challenges (see 1 Timothy 6:3-10).

Paul, however, knew that Timothy was impressionable and could be thrown for a loop by those causing him grief. To combat this, Paul imparted upon his young charge a dose of sanctified and sagacious counsel which no doubt fortified Timothy, and can do the same for you and me in these volatile days.

The Solid Counsel
After summarizing the evils Timothy would encounter (if he wasn’t already), Paul knew he had to give him a way to cope with it. He did so by conveying to him – and to every Christian henceforth – solid counsel upon which to build our Christian lives:

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

Now, read this once again, as if Paul were writing it to you.

Notice that Paul’s first instruction is to “flee from all this.” For Timothy, he was to flee from the poison propagated by false teachers. What is it for you? The culture? Pandemic-related worry and fear? Feelings of discouragement, anger, and bitterness? In general, Paul wants us to put away anything which hinders our relationship with God; anything that draws our focus away from doing the work our Heavenly Father has given us.

What to Pursue
Next, after telling us what to turn away from, Paul tells us what to turn to: “… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”

Whenever you see such lists, there is always a reason for the order in which the items are listed. In this case, righteousness – acting in an upright and moral way – leads to that which proceeds it: godliness – behaving as God would have us behave; faith – confidence and assurance in God; love – deeply caring about our fellow creatures; endurance ­– being able to sustain difficult times through God’s enabling; and gentleness – treating others in a Christlike manner.

 This was Paul’s way of saying to Timothy, “No matter how bad things get around you, do these things which I have written, and you will stand firm.”

Paul is saying the same thing to you and me. No matter what comes our way, we are to hold fast to this solid counsel and keep our eyes focused resolutely on Him.

In these unstable times, let us conduct ourselves as men and women of God, and bring Him the glory and honor He so richly deserves!