If we are fleeing from the things the world says are important, such as money, material possessions, even status in our community or workplace, but have no where to run, we are running unrestrained. “Without vision, the people perish.” Literally, the word translated perish means unrestrained. Without something to capture our attention and focus, we will be unrestrained. We will do what seems best in our own eyes, what is pleasing to our own nature. The world will help us with that by telling us what is important. They will tell us how to heal our wounds, emotional or otherwise. The world will tell us how to feel good about ourselves. The world will tell us all kinds of things that may even sound good. The world will provide that direction for us.
But Paul doesn’t just say “flee from all this”, he says “…and pursue.” Paul gives us that much needed direction, vision, so that we will not be unrestrained, unbridled. An unbridled horse will run wildly and will not easily be caught. He may do harm to himself and others if left unbridled and running wild. But when under control of the rider, that same horse can be ridden in any direction, used to work, and kept completely under control. We are no different. For God to use us effectively, we have to be under His control, not unbridled.
So you, man of God, flee from what the world demands of you and sells you. Flee from what the world would have you believe is most important. Flee from prioritizing that which will draw your heart from your God and your family. Flee from the subtle dangers of the good things of this world that draw us away from the only truly good thing, God Himself. Flee from all of this, and pursue a vision of a life lived with purpose and meaning. Flee from all this, and pursue a life that will bring God glory. Flee from all this and pursue a life through which you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind. “Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1Timothy 6:11).
To pursue isn’t just to run after, but to pursue earnestly and diligently with a desire to obtain. In the coming days we will explore what it means to pursue with that desire each one of these things in the context of our lives as men, husbands, and fathers. I look forward to sharing some of what God is doing in me through this passage and so many more.