But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue justice, godliness, faithfulness, love, perseverance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of everlasting life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
– 1 Timothy 6:11-12
In the letter we now call 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul is writing to his missionary apprentice, Timothy, a man probably in his early thirties, who was tasked with nurturing the nascent Ephesian Christian community into a healthy, mature congregation. Thus far in the letter, Paul has been giving Timothy specific instructions which he was to relay to the Ephesians for their communal edification: warnings against false teachers, requirements for church authorities, and provisional commands to the various constitutive social groups. However, in this passage, Paul turns his attention to Timothy’s personal life. As we have so painfully learned in the last few years, many male authority figures have been wise mentors, lucid communicators, and savvy administrators but have lacked the individual integrity that is absolutely central to effective leadership. Paul knew this well. Masculinity, when defined by worldly strictures rather than the Gospel, contained the same potential for toxicity and violence in his day as it does in ours. Men of every place and time, leaders and laity alike, need to heed Paul’s words. Paul calls Timothy a “man of God,” but what does that mean? We are constantly receiving information, explicit and implicit, as to what “man” should be: strong, intimidating, confident, handy, affluent, promiscuous, rowdy, raunchy, assertive, aggressive, domineering… Some of these are harmless, others are more pernicious, but according to Paul, none of them define the concept of a “man of God.” For Paul, a “man of God” is one who shuns worldly accolades and prizes. He is not acquisitive, brash, philandering, antagonistic, indulgent, or violent but instead pursues justice, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. He does not fight with others, but wages war against his own sinful inclinations, his mind ever set on the prize which God has set before him: everlasting life.
How perfect that Timothy himself provides us with such an example of such a man. In Paul’s next letter to Timothy, he writes to him, “You, however, have closely followed my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faithfulness, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings…” Paul’s words would become even more true than he realized. Timothy spent the remainder of his life pastoring the Ephesian church, ultimately dying at his post as a martyr, as his Paul, his mentor, had before him. Timothy had no idea that these letters written to him would later become Christian scriptures, nor did he know his fame would extend throughout two millennia. His service was not for his own self-glorification or empowerment. He was simply diligently and humbly doing the work to which God had called him. His mission to the Ephesian church, which was likely supposed to be a short-term role, turned into the ministry to which he would dedicate the rest of his life – ever faithful to the people whom he nurtured from his youth. This is the fight of the man of God. Modest and loyal service to others in all circumstances – in the mundane and the extraordinary – eyes fixed on no other reward but the one which Jesus has procured for us. Atrio Hill offers a variety of Man of God Christian jewelry to display in your daily walk. Mens cross necklaces, Christian rings, Christian necklaces.