BIBLE READING: 1TIMOTHY 4:11-16; JAMES 3:1-2, 8-10; EPHESIANS 4:29-30; 1THESSALONIANS 5:1-8, 22-23; TITUS 2:1-7
Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:16 (NKJV).
Towards the end of his ministry, Apostle Paul admonished his son and protege Timothy to take heed to himself. Knowing the toll that the ministry takes on the human mind and body, he told Timothy to pay close attention to himself. This admonition is still valid and relevant for us, especially those who are ministers of God as it was for Timothy.
According to 1Timothy 4:11-16, Paul urged Timothy to lead an exemplary life in the following areas:
1) In Speech: The kind of communication that is becoming of a believer is written in the Bible (see Eph. 4:29-30; Jam. 3:1-2, 8-10). Corrupt words are the outworking of corrupted thoughts and imaginations, and as such lead to grieving the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that every idle word will be brought up on the Judgement Day (see Matt. 12:36).
2) In Life: Being transparent in your dealings with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike (see Titus 2:7-8). Men and women of integrity are in short supply so make yourself trustworthy.
3) In Faith: Your personal faith in God must not be neglected. You can exercise so much faith for ministry and start leaking in grace.
Maintain your faith journey with God (see 1Thess. 5:8).
4) In Love: You cannot afford not to walk in love for life and relationships are places of much offence. There are many wounded believers that have allowed offence to fester in their souls (see 1 John 3:18).
5) In Purity: Purity is the precursor to power and longevity in life and ministry. Your personal purity must not be in doubt, especially with the opposite sex (see 2 Tim. 2:22 ). Do not put yourself in situations that will compromise your integrity. Watch your dealings with the opposite sex and never give the devil a foothold.
6) In Doctrine: Just like in the days of the Apostle Paul, many false teachers, apostles, and prophets are everywhere. In this age of tolerance, compromise is rampant and alarming. Self discovery preachers are everywhere teaching the latest technique for self discovery whereas the Real Gospel calls for the death to self in order to live in the newness of life.
As a minister of the gospel, your message should save you before saving your congregation. Do not prescribe for people the medicine that will neither heal you nor those that hear you.
7) In Health: In 1 Timothy 5:23, the advice not to take water only but a little wine concerned the overall health of Timothy rather than the doctrinal correctness of alcohol consumption. It is more about being good stewards of our bodies by living a healthy lifestyle to prevent avoidable sicknesses, diseases and death. Your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health are all important (see 1 Thess. 5:23).
Lord, help me not live carelessly in this present age. Help me by the Power of the Holy Spirit to restrain myself to a lifestyle of purity and wholesomeness of teaching in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.