Athletic coaches know that if an athlete is to be successful, some things should be encouraged and others avoided. Most advise them to build up their bodies with exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and practice their special skill. They counsel them to avoid alcohol, smoking, and illicit drugs. Coaches do this because experience is clear that failure to follow these rules will keep a person from doing their best. It seems the Apostle Paul was using athletic terms as he counseled Timothy, a young church leader in Ephesus. In 1 Timothy Chapter 6, Paul advises Timothy on what to avoid and what to embrace. He tells him to avoid everything evil including the love of money. On the other hand, he should embrace these positive values. He writes, “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” The apostle’s advice to Timothy applies equally to us today—whether one is a leader or a follower of Jesus the Christ. Unless we are careful, the modern self-centered pursuit of pleasure may crowd out God-consciousness. God’s people must establish habits and structure to help us guard against the slippery slope away from our Lord.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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