WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 14, 2022
TOPIC: WHAT YOU SHOULD PURSUE
BY T.O. BANSO
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11 New King James Version).
Everybody is pursuing something. It could be something physical or spiritual or something terrestrial or celestial. Some people pursue wealth, fame, fashion, or pleasure while others pursue what is eternal. Everybody is pursuing something; the only difference is whether it is what matters or vanities. Colossians 3:2-3 says to set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
The word “pursue” means (1) to continue doing an activity or trying to achieve something over a long period of time (2) pursue the matter/argument/question etc (3) to chase or follow someone or something, in order to catch them, attack them, etc. (4) to keep trying to persuade someone to have a relationship with you (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English).
Jesus said in Luke 12:29 that we should not seek what we should eat or drink, or have an anxious mind. He noted: “For though the nations of the world pursue these things, as for you, your Father knows that you need them” (verse 30 Weymouth’s New Testament). In other words, we should not pursue what nonbelievers pursue because we belong to a different kingdom. We are to seek or pursue the kingdom of God, and all the things we need shall be added to us (verse 31).
Let us look at specific things the Bible says we should pursue:
1. Pursue the knowledge of the LORD. Paul told the Corinthians to awake to righteousness and not sin, for some did not have the knowledge of God (1 Corinthians 15:34a). The knowledge of the Lord is very important. One of the things God says He desires is the knowledge of Him. He says in Hosea 6:6b that He desires the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Verse 3a says, “Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD” (New King James Version).
Part of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians was that God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesian 1:17). In a similar prayer for the Colossians, Paul prayed, among other things, that they might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Christians must grow or increase in their knowledge of God. This will happen as we pursue it.
Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (New King James Version).
We must pursue the knowledge of God as we fellowship with Him in His Word, worship, and prayer, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
2. Pursue what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 says, “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (New King James Version). Some people seek revenge; they pursue those who have wronged them so that they can even score. But the Bible says you shouldn’t pursue your enemies; pursue what is good for yourself and others.
The Bible says you shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against anyone (Leviticus 19:18a). “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil’, wait for the LORD, and He will save you” (Proverbs 20:22 New King James Version). Don’t pay people back for what they’ve done to you; don’t seek revenge (Proverbs 24:29). “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17 New King James Version).
Revenge is evil; don’t pursue it. Instead, pursue good. 1 Peter 3:9 says you should not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. Jesus said, “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also” (Matthew 5:39-40 New King James Version).
Instead of the saying that one should love his neighbor and hate his enemy, Jesus said you should love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44). This is how to pursue good, and this is the Spirit of Christ. Don’t do evil to anyone because they have the same to you. Pursue good. Galatians 6:10 says as we have the opportunity, we should do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
3. Pursue peace, righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. These are some of the attributes of God that His children should cultivate. Pursue peace. Psalm 34:14 says to depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 14:19 that we should pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
Similarly, the author of the book of Hebrews says we should pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). According to the Apostle Peter, we should turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11).
1 Timothy 6:11 says, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (New King James Version). What are these things to flee? Paul talks about them in the preceding verses. Flee the love of money and its evil consequences. Every child of God should pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness, not only those regarded as men of God, as all Christians are ministers.
In 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul warned Timothy to flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. The warning is also applicable to all believers. We should flee from everything that doesn’t portray us as Christians and pursue virtues and attributes that testify of us as true children of God.
We should pursue love. Romans 13:9-10 says all the commandments are summed up in the commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” so love is the fulfillment of the law. Love fulfils all of God’s requirements. Therefore, pursue love (1 Corinthians 14:1a). “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12 New King James Version).
4. Pursue the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained [the prize], or am already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may get possession [of it], seeing that also I have been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus]” (Philippians 3:12 Darby’s Translation). Take note that Paul said in this scripture that he pursued. The word “pursue” is rendered “press on” in the New King James Version. Paul pressed on or pursued so that he could obtain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
In verse 14, Paul says, “I pursue, [looking] towards [the] goal, for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus” (Darby’s Translation). The New King James Version renders the word “pursue” as “press toward.”
The book of Ecclesiastes says vanity of vanities, all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2 12:8). Don’t pursue vanities; don’t pursue what the Word of God forbids. Don’t pursue worldly things at the expense of eternal life. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? (Mark 8:36).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not pursue vanities but things of eternal values in Jesus’ name. I shall set my mind on things above, not on things on the earth. In Jesus’ name, I shall pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Holy Spirit, help me to pursue what is good, not evil. Father, I pray that the evil-doers in the world will receive Jesus Christ into their hearts and begin to do good.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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