Sitting at the feet of Paul, asking questions and hearing stories would have been an amazing privilege. To hear of his adventures, his hardships, and his encounters with God would have thrilled our souls. What if we could ask questions of him? How do we grow as a Christian man, husband and father; how do we lead effectively; what would he recommend we do to lead a life of power and significance?
As I was reading in I Timothy recently I had occasion to do just that. There in black and white are his exhortations, instructions and encouragements. Here is the advice he would give us……
Paul understood humility (he knew who we was, and what Christ had done for him)
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Paul sets the bar for leadership
3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Put your faith in God not your career/money
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Flee, pursue – fight, take hold
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Can you see a pattern here?
Manhood, husbandhood, fatherhood, leadership – are not defined by your gender, or your role in life – but by your character. Your character is formed as you live a deliberate life. When we make daily decisions to flee godless things, and pursue/take hold of/fight for what God desires for us – He will mold us into the men we were created to be, and the men our wives and children need us to be.
As we approach a brand new year, why don’t we resolve to make our relationship with Christ our one true goal. If we “take hold” of that one thing – everything else will take care of itself.