But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, (1 Timothy 6:11).
As Paul writes to Timothy, a young evangelist trying to do God’s will, Paul exhorts him as a man of God to flee from the love of money and follow after many good qualities. The Scriptures show how Paul wanted Timothy to be a good example of the faith; we can see that Timothy was certainly an excellent young man. Timothy did not just pop out of the waters of baptism as an example of the faith; he had to aspire to be a man of God. Let us learn from how Paul instructed Timothy so that we ourselves can aspire to be men of God.
- Paul knew how Timothy studied, as we can see from 2 Timothy 3:15:
And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Paul likewise instructs Timothy to be diligent so as to be approved by God, handling rightly the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul had every confidence in Timothy in this, since Paul knew how Timothy had known the Scriptures; regardless, Timothy still needed to study. Why is it that society expects young people to go to school and be educated first in general topics and then to learn a profession? People are not born knowing how to do many tasks; they have to learn them! The same is true in spiritual matters: if you want to be a man of God, you must put in effort to study the Scriptures and know what is right from wrong. How can you grow to maturity unless you know what is right (Hebrews 5:14)?
- Paul reminded Timothy of the instruction of his godly mother and grandmother, as seen in 2 Timothy 1:5:
Having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded, in thee also.
Timothy had the advantage of having good godly examples in his mother and grandmother, and wisely learned from them. If you are fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents who are good godly examples, you would do well to listen to them and learn from them.
- Paul encouraged Timothy to avoid sin, as he said in 2 Timothy 2:22:
But flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Timothy was to run away from all worldly desires that would lead him to sin, and Paul made a special note to tell Timothy to avoid youthful desires in particular. Far too often young people are called upon to have control of themselves when they are least equipped and trained to do so. Nevertheless, in Christ Jesus you have the ability to defeat every temptation, particularly the tendencies of impetuousness, lack of humility, sexual desires, and so on (1 Corinthians 10:13). It takes constant practice to stop committing sins, but you certainly can defeat sin (Hebrews 5:14)!
- Paul charged Timothy to be an example of the faith in 1 Timothy 4:12:
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity.
It is often very hard to be a young person and have your ideas brushed aside on the basis of your age. Respect must be earned, and the only way you can earn respect is by being above reproach. The young man who has his priorities straight, works on living a righteous life, loves his brethren and those outside as they ought, and is seen to be working on growing in the faith will earn respect; the young man who does not really seem to have interest in spiritual things or thinks nothing of going out and sinning or wants little to do with the brethren will not have that respect. Even though the burden may seem heavy to bear, we ought to strive to be examples of the faith, even from a young age.
- Timothy was to be involved in the church and with the brethren, as Paul demonstrates in 1 Timothy 3:15:
but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
We can see from Paul’s letters to Timothy that Timothy was very involved with the church. To assemble with the saints is to have an opportunity to encourage and be encouraged, and there is some connection between the strength of a Christian and his or her habit of assembling. While it is entirely possible for a weaker Christian to always assemble, rarely if ever is there a Christian who is strong yet does not habitually assemble with other saints. If we want to be people of God, we must be around God’s people. Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33), and not a few younger Christians have fallen away from the faith on account of the friends with whom they associated. Likewise, many a younger Christian has been strengthened to do great things in the Kingdom because of the friends with whom they associated. Choose your friends so as to help you be a man of God.
- Paul expected Timothy to preach the word in 2 Timothy 4:2:
Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
While it is true that Timothy was an evangelist, the task of preaching the Gospel to others falls upon everyone’s shoulders (cf. 1 Peter 2:9). If we are going to be people of God, we are going to have to let others know about God and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. We do this by our own example of righteous living and the message of the Gospel that we proclaim. Let us show our love for our fellow man by giving him the message that will save his soul from death!
These are but a few of the ways that we can work to be men of God. Let all of us strive to be people of whom God is well-pleased, looking to His word as our guide for all of our deeds.
Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work, (2 Timothy 3:16-17).