DWM-52 - Beware of Affluenza : Praying in Godliness with Contentment For Our Children

Today God wants us living for Heaven, and every other day of our earthly lives. 

But, we have to do so in the midst of an epidemic that has gotten stronger century by century. This flu we face as believers in Christ each day is far more deadly than the H1N1 variety of influenza now loitering and infecting people across the globe. Affluenza or materialism is a deadly disease that robs Christians of their desire for Heaven and replaces it with a desire for earth.

As we open to I Timothy 6 we find Paul warning about this spiritual sickness of materialism. This morning measure your personal resistance level to the nearly irresistible draw of spending life chasing stuff, money, pleasure, and possessions.

Over  the past few weeks many major world newspapers continue to examine H1N1 and the larger issue of what is being called the “Super-Flu”. Here is what they are saying: 

Overdue Global
Influenza Attack

Some  experts have been looking at the genetic structure of the virus which caused the 1918 pandemic, as well as a serious outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 for clues which may help doctors combat such an outbreak. There were three flu pandemics in the last century, in 1918, 1957 and 1968.  Even though the 1957 and 1968 outbreaks were less severe than the Spanish flu, they still accounted for 40,000,000 deaths between them (or 1% of the population). 

Researchers suggest that an approximate 30-year cycle between pandemics means we are well overdue for another one. (1% of America falling victim to influenza would mean 3,000,000 deaths!)

We need to listen here in America also, because we have had our share of disasters with the flu or Influenza as it is properly called.

In the  spring of 1918, as the nation mobilized for war, Private Albert Gitchell reported to an Army hospital in Kansas. He was diagnosed with the flu, a disease doctors knew little about. Before the year was out, America would be ravaged by a flu epidemic that killed 675,000--more than in all the wars of this century combined--before disappearing as mysteriously as it began. 

Yes, history is on the side of the argument that a super influenza coming that tragically will strike many people’s physical bodies. Revelation 6 tells us that in God's Word, however as we all know, there is something far worse that a sick and dying body – and that is a sick and dying soul. 

But more deadly than influenza, is the affluenza or materialism, that Paul warns Timothy and the church at Ephesus about in I Timothy 6:6-21:

I Timothy 6:6-21 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

Pray

Affluenza: More
Deadly than Influenza

This morning an epidemic is already being reported here in Michigan. However it is not influenza—it is affluenza. What is affluenza? It is so dangerous even the world has noticed. It is the habitual longing for, and chasing after, money and stuff. One gifted Christian writer calls it a—possession obsession. 

A few years ago PBS aired a special television program they actually entitled Affluenza. The topic was a warning against what the public sector has identified as the “modern-day plague of materialism.”   
Here were just a few the symptoms they observed as they produced their program:

•    The average  American shops six hours a week while spending forty minutes playing with their children.
•    By age twenty, we’ve seen one million commercials.
•    Recently, more Americans declared bankruptcy than graduated from college.
•    In 90 percent of divorce cases, arguments about money play a prominent role.

In conjunction wit the program, PBS prepared a series of questions to help viewers determine if they had caught “affluenza”. As you think over these questions remember this is PBS not Paul, and yet they are saying the same thing! When the world points out our problems they are really bad! 

Are You Escaping  
from Affluenza? 

Take this quiz and find out! Answer the following as honestly as possible. 
1.    My life would be happier if I had more money.
2.    I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have, and the amount of time it takes to pay for, maintain, and store it all.
3.    My partner and I have different views on spending and saving, it's hard to talk about these subjects without arguing.
4.    My children seem more materialistic than I was at their age. 
5.    I never seem to have enough "quality time" with my family and other loved ones.
6.    Our family loves clothing with the fashionable logos on it, and we're usually among the first on the block to see the latest hit movie. 
7.    I hardly know my neighbors, I feel disconnected from my local community.
8.    I very often feel rushed, with too much to do and not enough time to do it all.
9.    I don't enjoy my job; I would quit if I didn't have to work for money.
10.    I don't feel that I live my life in total alignment with my values and beliefs. 
11.    I pay only the monthly minimum payment on my credit cards.
12.    I do not put money into savings regularly.
13.    I spend much more time shopping each month than I do being involved in my community.
14.    I sometimes buy something because it's cool or fashionable, not because I love it or need it.
15.    I know I have more "extras" in my life than my parents and grandparents did, but I don't feel as satisfied about my standard of living as I think they were.
What struck one author about this program was  that it doesn’t argue against materialism on a moral basis but a pragmatic one:  Material wealth doesn’t make us happy.  Listen to some of the wealthiest people of their day:

•    “The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone.  There is no pleasure in it.”  W. H. Vanderbilt
•    “I am the most miserable man on earth.”  John Jacob Astor
•    “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”  John D. Rockefeller
•    “Millionaires seldom smile.”  Andrew Carnegie
•    “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.”  Henry Ford

If affluenza is the disease, what’s the cure?  If materialism is the poison, what’s the antidote?  Paul offers and answer. Look again at what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19:

A Theology of Possessions:
7 Keys that Promote & Protect Contentment

How do we learn and teach contentment to our families? The best way to start is to do a study of the “Seven Keys to Promote and Protect Contentment” from I Timothy 6. Here they are, why don’t you jot them into your Bibles?

1.    Always remember things are only temporary. 1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 

2.    Only seek necessities, wait for the rest. 1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 

3.    Avoid a consuming desire for prosperity. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 

4.    Flee materialism. 1 Timothy 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 

5.    Cling to eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:12, 15, 19 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.    

6.    Pin your hopes on God. 1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. [I hope we have enough to…I hope that this investment will…I hope this job will last…]

7.    Give until it hurts. 1 Timothy 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, [growing up it was the “Flying Twenty” kept in the tea cup for God’s special servants…]

This morning we are going to do something very hard for us as people living on Earth – we are going to try to think about our Eternal Life instead of merely our Temporal Life.  I challenge you this morning to start:

Affluenza or materialism is a deadly disease that robs Christians of their desire for Heaven and replaces it with a desire for earth.

Jesus and Paul both warn us about the spiritual sickness of materialism. 

This morning by God’s grace and your personal choices increase your personal resistance level to the nearly irresistible draw of spending life chasing stuff, money, pleasure, and possessions.

Lay hold on eternal life!


How to Pray for those We Love Card

Spiritual
Reality

We must pray in complete agreement, for them to cultivate reality in their spiritual life:

1.    Seeing them  genuinely saved. Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
•    1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (NIV)
•    2 Timothy 3:15  

2.    Seeing them  loving God's Word. Job 23:12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
•    Psalm 119:97, 165  
•    Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. (NKJV) 

3.    Seeing them living in victory. John 8:32, 36 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
•    John 17:15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. (NKJV)

4.    Seeing them  thinking of heaven. Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

•    2 Corinthians 4:16-17  
•    1 Thessalonians 2:19-20  
•    1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NKJV)    

5.    Seeing them  finding sin repulsive. Psalm 38:18 For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.
•    Proverbs 20:17  .
•    Luke 15:17-18  
•    Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (NKJV)

6.    Seeing them  responding to God. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.

Personal
Integrity

Secondly, we must pray in complete agreement, for them to cultivate integrity in their personal life:

1.    Seeing them maintaining a clear conscience (I Timothy 1:5). Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

•    2 Chronicles 34:27 because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord. 
•    Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
•    Acts 24:16 "This [being] so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. (NKJV) 
•    1 Timothy 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, [from] a good conscience, and [from] sincere faith, (NKJV) 
•    1 Timothy 1:19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, (NKJV)

2.    Seeing them learning to stand alone (Daniel 1:8). But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (which means a conviction that their character is more important than their popularity). 

•    Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. "If that [is the case,] our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver [us] from your hand, O king. "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (NKJV)
•    2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (NKJV)

3.    Seeing them seeking to stay pure (I Peter 2:11). Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

•    Genesis 39:9 "[There is] no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you [are] his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (NKJV)
•    1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (NKJV)

4.    Seeing them cultivating a servant’s heart (Mark 10:44-45). And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

•    Philippians 2:5-7 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (NKJV)

5.    Seeing them avoiding bitterness in trials (Ephesians 4:30-32). And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

•    II Samuel 16:11 “… Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him.”
•    1 Kings 11:14 Now the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom. 
•    Job 2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (NKJV)
•    Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled; (KJV)
 
Relational
Stability

Thirdly, we must pray in complete agreement, for them to cultivate stability in their relational life:
  
1.    Seeing them loving their brothers and sisters (I John 4:7-8).  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

•    John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
•    1 John 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, (NKJV); 
•    1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (NKJV); 
•    1 John 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (NKJV)

2.    Seeing them trusting God with hard situations and not rebelling (I Samuel 15:23a). For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,  and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

•    Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (NKJV); 
•    Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (NKJV)

3.    Seeing them loving the way God made them as men and women (Psalm 27:11). Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.  

•    Psalm 139:13-18 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. (NKJV)
•    1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (NIV) The Message says: Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. ... Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them…Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it.  
•    Titus 2:4-5 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
•    1 Peter 3:1-7 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. The Message paraphrases this passage as: The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.  

4.    Seeing them waiting to meet God’s chosen life partner for them (II Corinthians 6:14).  Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

•    Proverbs 31:10-12     Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. (NKJV)
•    Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.  (NIV)
•    Proverbs 19:13-14 A foolish son is the ruin of his father, And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping. 14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.
•    2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 

Eternal
Priorities

Finally, we must pray in complete agreement, for them to cultivate living for eternity during their earthly life.

1.    Seeing them choosing a life of contentment .  Philippians 4:11  Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

•    1 Timothy 6:9-12 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NKJV)
•    Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (KJV)

2.    Seeing them choosing a life of personally knowing, serving, loving and obeying the Lord. 1 Chronicles 28:9  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 

•    1 Chronicles 28:9 " As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. (NKJV)  
•    1 Chronicles 29:19 "And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision." (NKJV)
•    3 John 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (KJV)

•    Romans 12:1-2

3. THIS MEANS SEEING THEM CHOOSING A LIFE OF CONSECRATION. 1 Timothy 6:9-12 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NKJV)

Now, lets learn the verses we pray from to see Consecration in our children.

•    A Consecrated Christian Believes That Losers Are Keepers. Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 

•    A Consecrated Christian chooses to return to the Lord the title deed to all we own. Luke 14:26-33 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

•    A Consecrated Christian Believes in GIVING OUR BODIES, MINDS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE TO THE LORD. Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

•    A Consecrated Christian Believes THAT WE WERE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY THE LORD. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

•    A Consecrated Christian Believes in GIVING OUR SELF BACK TO GOD. 2 Corinthians 8:5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 

•    A Consecrated Christian chooses to not love money. 1 Timothy 6:9-12 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NKJV)