What it means to Pursue Righteousness

clark-young-143623I’ve always wanted to play the piano. Except I’m tone deaf. And have never had lessons.

I’d love to be fit and strong. Except I hate weight training.

I’d love to speak French fluently. Or Russian. Or even Greek. Only I’ve never taken a class, purchased a foreign-to-American dictionary, or any language learning software.

But to learn through osmosis while nibbling on tootsie rolls dipped in peanut butter, while book-2073828_1920nestled in the corner of my couch with my favorite quilt and novel … ah, that I could do!

Obviously, wishful thinking won’t get us far, whether our goals are concrete, like losing weight or mastering a new skill, or … far more profound and eternal, such as becoming more like Christ.

It was sometime between 63-65 AD, the cruel and tyrannical Nero had been in power for  ten years. Recently released from prison, Paul, the great evangelist, left one of his dearest companions, a young man named Timothy, to oversee a church in crisis.

Affronted by opposition within the church and persecution outside of it, there had to be times when Timothy wanted to simply skirt by. To spend his days at home, hiding away, and let the world around him come  undone.

Perhaps you can relate?

I imagine he felt quite ill-equipped for the task at hand, but notice, God never expects perfection. He knows we’ll never be superhero Christians (this side of heaven). He does, however, expect us to obey, and to keep moving forward. 

2 Timothy 6:11 says, “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (NLT).

Paul wasn’t saying, “Keep going to church and reading your Bible, praying as you have time or happen to think to do so, until your heart and thoughts begin to change–though those are great disciplines that surely lead us in that direction. Paul’s instructions leopard-1337201_1920were much stronger and indicated a more determined intention.  Diōkō, the Greek word translated as pursue, means to “seek after something aggressively, like a hunter pursuing a catch (or prize).” It has the connotation of going after something with “all haste.”

I’ve never been a hunter, and certainly not a first century one, but I have gone hungry, and I know how focused I can become when my stomach starts to cramp.

What if I pursued righteousness with that same, hungry focus? What if I was intentional in regard to my growth. In regard to living as God desires and learning to better reflect Him.

This focus would permeate every part of my day–would impact how I organize my day. My growth would not be an afterthought, something that happens as I casually continue in my Christian walk, but rather, it would be my driving goal for every action and interaction.

I have a feeling, the results would be exponential.

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About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.
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