Plan to work on your godliness. This could mean deciding where and how to serve the church family. It could mean identifying a weakness you currently have and being careful and thoughtful about how you might improve in that area. We all need to pursue the things of God intentionally and repeatedly. Make every effort to be more like Jesus.
When you are trying to change some kind of bad habit or mindset, working on what to stop doing is only part of the story. You need to replace the bad habit with something else. That is why you often find former smokers becoming committed runners. It’s not just about what to stop; it is also about what to start.
Paul uses this logic when he speaks to Timothy about the dangers of greed. While being aware of the problem and fleeing the love of money is important (and see the last blog post on this here), Timothy was also urged to replace this love with something else. We read this in 1 Timothy 6:
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. —1 Timothy 6:11 ESV
The instruction here is not only to flee greed, but to pursue the things of God. We all are made to have desires; Paul is not telling Timothy to just stop desiring things. No, he is to desire to serve God and not money. He is to serve one master and not another.
Just as the word “flee” is an active, continuous verb here, so is the word “pursue”. The idea is that active effort be taken to pursue the things of God. And not just once, a decision to follow Jesus made sometime in the past. These kinds of active decisions are required regularly and often. Greed is a real continuous danger and neglecting the things of God is also an ongoing problem for us.