When I was a teenager and beginning to drive myself to gatherings and events, my mom always had last words for me as I walked out the door.
- Drive carefully.
- Do you have money?
- Keep your doors locked.
- Be home on time.
- Call if you need us.
- Tell ‘so-and-so’ hello for us.
- Have fun.
- We love you.
Last words are important.
As I read the Bible, I am drawn to the instructions that the Apostle Paul put in the last part of the letters he wrote to individuals and churches. I like to pay attention to these last words in a Bible book. Such is the case in the book of First Timothy. Written to a young man growing in his walk with the Lord, this book contains guidance for every believer’s walk, speech, attitude, and actions. These words resonate with truth in the world today.
Chapter six closes out the book with cautions against discontentment and the love of money. Then in verses 11 – 16 we find a picture of the active involvement of faith in the believer’s life. “Flee, follow-after or pursue, fight, lay hold on, and keep” are all words of action, and these are the directions that Paul left for Timothy and for me.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.
- Follow after (pursue) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness: These are the actions and attitudes for which the believer is to strive. If I am actively pursuing or chasing these, there won’t be much time to follow the actions and attitudes of this world.
- Fight the good fight of faith: There are many fights in this world that call my name, but the fight to which God calls me is the fight of faith. This fight will stand against evil and result in me remaining true to God and active in His service.
- Lay hold on eternal life: An interesting turn of the phrase, but I believe it is telling me not to place my hope in this world. Instead, I am to remember and look toward my eternal home. I am laying up my treasures there.
- Keep, or obey, this commandment: God calls me to a life of obedience. Obedience to His commandments is the path of blessing.
Faith is not passive; it bears active fruit in my passions, my desires, my daily activities, my dreams, my goals, my pursuits.
Faith moves hearts, changes destinations, stimulates service, and lives out the love implanted in my heart by the One Who is love.
Following my mom’s last words helped bring me home safely when I was a teenager. Heeding Paul’s last words in the book of 1st Timothy can do the same for me today.
Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Photo – Cloudy Sunset, Beth Mims