Paul had been training Timothy for the past fifteen years, challenging him to be a “proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately” (2 Tim 2:15) and a “vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2:21). Paul kept the vision before Timothy of what he could be for God.
He told Timothy to “flee also youthful lusts.” The imperative to flee means to “escape, shun, or avoid” something damaging or destructive. The word youthful refers to the characteristics of adolescents.
Passion is a “craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust” for what you think you need. The word can refer to not only sexual passions but also childlike ambitions, curiosity, or selfishness.
Regardless of the specific issue, immaturity is to be avoided, and maturity is to “habitually be pursued”; pursue means to “do something with an intense effort and with a definite purpose or goal.”
Timothy was to seek “righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace”—-a composite of traits of the mature Christian that command respect.
Righteousness refers to actions of moral commitment to the moral will of God as expressed in the commands, progressing in a virtuous life pursuing obedience. This is not legalism, but godliness.
Faithfulness is “reliability,” and it appears in a list of virtues (as in Galatians 5:22). People respect their leaders when they can depend on what they say.
Love is an unselfish commitment to benefit others. A feeling cannot be pursued, but a self–sacrificing strategy to give of yourself for others can be.
Peace refers not to the search for an internal peace with God but to the pursuit of tranquil and harmonious relations among the church body.
These are not to be merely Timothy’s objectives; he is to associate with (“in company with”) “who call on the Lord from a pure heart” in a mentor–protégé relationship. The primary method to achieve maturity is to strive together in mutual accountability or mentorship. Who is your mentor?
“Heavenly Father, guide me to find godly people to whom I can be accountable. Help me avoid immature passions as You guide me to be righteous, faithful, loving, and at peace with others and therefore effective in building the body of Christ.”
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