But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. – 1 Timothy 6:11 NIV
Paul’s final words to Timothy in this letter are to flee from the temptation of seeking personal reward for his service in the kingdom. This admonition reminds me of Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife when she attempted to seduce him (Gen. 38:12). Fleeing is an active verb, it is not passive. Sometimes our best course of action is simply to run away, to get as far away from the temptation as possible. In this case it was serving from impure motives. But the warning is true regardless the temptation. Leave them far behind.
But Timothy is not just told to run from something. He is also told to run toward something. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Chase after these virtues. Again, this is not a passive verb, it is active. Rather than wait for these virtues to come your way, actively work to develop them in your life. It is true that you will not be successful in developing these virtues on your own. They are the work of the Holy Spirit in your life (Gal. 5:22-23). But he works them in those who walk with him (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25).
Living as a Christian is not a passive activity. While Christ’s righteousness was imputed to me when I believed, personal righteousness, along with godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness only come with time, effort, and submission to the Holy Spirit. Flee from unrighteousness and ungodliness. And, hand in hand with the Holy Spirit, chase after the things of God. Fight the good fight of the faith.