Athlete, Avoid Shipwreck, Pursue These Things


Athlete, Avoid Shipwreck, Pursue These Things

Tom Petersburg

1 Timothy 6:11 (NASB)

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

For nine years I helped lead the first substance abuse program in the NFL. The psychiatrist in the group pushed the athletes to flee whatever triggered their abuse. He threatened, challenged and lectured the athletes on what they should “not do.” But, it wasn’t enough to just flee.

The men who recovered were the ones who added a second action to fleeing — they pursued the things of God. 

Paul says you avoid a shipwreck of your faith by fleeing the desires that lead to temptation, entrapment and destruction … and by pursuing what deepens your relationship with God. Flee sin; pursue God. 

Paul is describing the difference between being passive and being active in your faith. If you are passive about your faith, you have dropped your ship’s sails. You will usually drift in the direction those around you are going. 

If you are active, you have set your sails. You are pursuing something. Paul says we are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 

These words describe a growing relationship with God. Righteousness is holy living. Godliness is a God-centered life. Faith is trusting God. Love is being other-centered. Perseverance is holding the course. Gentleness is strength under control. They don’t just happen. Growing your faith requires active pursuit. 

Would your athletic career develop with the same intensity that you apply to your walk with God? If you are an athlete you know the difference. Passivity gets you nowhere spiritually. 

Avoid the drift. Get into the Word daily. Ask God what He wants of your life. Spend time with others who are pursuing the things of God. 

If you flee the desires that threaten to entrap you, and pursue the things of God, then you are in for a fight. Tomorrow’s entry is a call to the battle.

Tom Petersburg,


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