"Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22)
The word "follow" is frequently translated "persecute" in other passages. Jesus used the word this way: "The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). The connotation of the Greek term includes a dogged and relentless effort.
Anyone who wants to serve the Lord Jesus faithfully must be determined to pursue righteousness. Those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness" are promised both happiness and fulfillment (Matthew 5:6). Those who seek "first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" have the promise that God will supply all their earthly needs (Matthew 6:33).
Perhaps a quick review of some of the passages that require "pursuit" of a godly lifestyle would be helpful.
- "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Romans 14:19).
- "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:1).
- "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
- "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men" (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
- "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" (1 Timothy 6:11).
- "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
Even this short list should keep all of us on our knees asking both for forgiveness and for strength to obey. HMM III