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.
In recent days, we’ve looked at materialism and greed. Before we move unto another theme, I want to explore something Paul said to Timothy about money. In particular, I want us to think about how the love of money causes some people to wander from the faith.
Paul is talking about more than just dropping out of church. His concern is far more serious as he references those who “have wandered from the faith.” And then he warns Timothy, “But you, man of God, flee from all this…” In other words, “Don’t let it happen to you.”
When we examine this passage, we see two kinds of pursuits. One, that follows godly qualities like “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness,” and the other that goes after materialism and worldliness. Knowing which is the right way is easy, but following that path is not so easy as we would like to think.
In the preceding verses in 1 Timothy 6, we get a look at these people who loved money and wandered from the faith. Paul was particularly concerned about those who were perverting Christian doctrine, “people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” (v5)
Sound biblical doctrine matters. What you believe matters. Distorted doctrine and lack of mastering basic Christian principles is like putting on the uniform without going through basic training. When the bullets start to fly, the masquerading soldiers run for the hills.
When I was 7-years-old, my favorite TV show was Superman. How cool it would be to have his superpowers and to be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. One day, I decided to give it a try. Mom supplied me with a bed sheet for a cape which I secured around my neck and then I headed for the front porch. Striking Superman’s pose with my hands on my hips, I stood there momentarily as the wind blew my cape. And then I yelled, “Up, Up, and Away,” charged to the front of the porch with my arms stretched above my head, and jumped.
Confession of faith and baptism alone don’t prepare a new Christian for living a godly life any more than that bedsheet helped me to fly. I hope and pray that those who wander from the faith have something like a boxwood hedge to break their fall, learn from the error of their ways, and come to their senses.
Paul calls Timothy a man of God, and then warns the young man to “flee from all this.” (v11) The “all this,” that Paul has in mind was mentioned in verse 9. “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
Think about this. You call yourself a man or woman of God. Today, you are living for Christ and doing your best to live a godly life. So was Timothy. But Paul knew Satan would like nothing more than to lure Timothy away from the faith.
A Christian’s relationship with God is intensely personal. I can’t know your real heart for God any more than you can know mine. But we can observe the fruit that gives evidence of our relationship to God.
Don’t forget to check occasionally, to examine yourself to determine if you are still living as you should for the Lord. If you’ve started to wander, get back on the main road immediately.
My prayer for you is that you stay strong in the Lord and with each passing day draw nearer to Him. Learn from Him, believe Him, trust Him, and follow His way. May you never fall away from the faith and may God help you to always “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (v11) To God be the glory. Amen.
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.