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Know who you are (1 Timothy 6:11)

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:11)

As a young person, there has come a point in your life where your parents have given you greater freedom to go out and spend time with friends in situations where you might be tempted to act in ways that are contrary to how they have raised you.

Most I'm sure will agree that what makes you most inclined to act responsibly is when they say to you, "I trust you!" It's usually far more effective than being nagged about following a whole list of rules that they have told you countless times!

When your parents say they trust you, essentially what they are saying is, "This is who we believe you really are". When you choose to act differently from what they'd expect, you're essentially saying, "Your wrong. I'm not that sort of person at all."

Similarly, approaching our faith by affirming who we are is far more effective than trying to keep a list of rules. Reminding ourselves that we are a man or woman of God and seeing ourselves that way, is far more effective than using our self-will to overcome temptation. The latter approach focuses on the sin while the former approach focuses on God.

Paul understood this distinction as he draws to the end of this letter to his young protege Timothy. "You, Timothy, are a man of God", he says, "So run from these evil things".

He could have said, "Run from these evil things, so you will be a man of God", but he understood our true identity is found in who God declares us to be, not the number of good things or bad things we have done.

In the same way that you have not "earned" being the son or daughter of your parents, you have not "earned" the title of man or woman of God. It is something that was conferred on you when you were saved. At that moment you became God's child, and as such are expected to live accordingly, not because you want to be His man or woman but because you already are!

Can you see this important distinction?

Paul goes on to say in this verse, because you are a man of God, "Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness."

All these qualities will make you into an effective leader. You'll be someone who not only "talks the talk but walks the walk". Those you lead will see that you are a man or woman of God through your godly living and this living will be present, not because you've tried hard (something that never quite works), but because you have decided to be who God declares you to be.

In other words, you act like a man or woman of God, not because you want to become one, but because you believe you already are!.

Reflection

Which are you more inclined to do. To try to be a man or woman of God, or to live knowing that God has already declared you to be a man or woman of God? How might this latter approach affect the way you live and think?