We ask our young children all the time, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Then we often expect a reply in terms of career choices. In Paul’s letter to his protégé, he didn’t instruct Timothy to become a power pastor of a megs-church; rather he reminded him of who he was; that he was a “man of God” (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 3:17).
Interestingly, as far as I can tell, there’s only one person in the New Testament who’s called “a man of God,” and that’s Timothy. This term is frequently used in the Old Testament. In fact, it’s used about 70 times and always in reference to a spokesman for God—someone whose duty and responsibility is to speak the words of God.
Here in 1 Timothy 6:11-21, Paul points out four characteristics that mark a man of God:
- He flees: “Run” (1 Timothy 6:11). This is the Greek verb fuagay from which we get the word fugitive. In other words, the man of God is a man on the run. He’s constantly fleeing the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10), ungodly behavior (1 Timothy 6:20), lust, and sin (2 Timothy 2:22).
- He follows: The man of God pursues “righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). These are worthy goals.
- He fights: Not with his wife or others, but using the truth, the man of God is engaged in daily warfare against the kingdom of darkness. He’s not coasting toward the gates of heaven (1 Timothy 6:12).
- He is faithful: The man of God “holds tightly to the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12). He views faithful Christian living and service as his necessary responsibility to God (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
If someone asks you, “What would you like to be?” would “I want to be a man of God” be your response? That type of man personally belongs to God, proclaims His Word accurately, and lives his life as an example to others.