I enjoy reading Paul’s letters to Timothy because I often feel very much like Timothy. I read it as if it is a letter from Paul, serving as my own mentor. Though Timothy’s “youth” was physical age and I’m older, my “youth” is in my ministry time. Paul’s instruction is very valuable.
Paul starts the chapter with a bit of a warning. 1 Timothy 4 starts out with a warning of how some will fall to bad teaching and be led astray. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” This is a two fold warning to Timothy.
- Timothy, be careful not to be the one leading people astray (more on this in the 2nd part of the chapter)
- Timothy, take heart when those you are leading, get led astray by others, for it will happen.
But Paul finishes up the chapter with more encouraging instruction.
- Guard yourself from such teachings, holding fast to what you have learned and lived so far and you will be “a good Servant of Christ Jesus” (v6).
- Continue to train your mind as you would your body, it’s an on going process (v8).
- God is the savior of all, especially those who believe (v10)
- Live an example worth following (v12).
- God has given you a gift, use it for His glory (v14).
- Carefully examine yourself and your teaching for you are now taking on responsibility of a flock now (v16).
If every Pastor lived by these 6 points, Satan would win fewer battles. But I realize these are more easily said than done. As I continue to pursue this path and “not neglect the gift I was given”, my daily prayer is that I hold fast to all 6 of these.
Thank you Lord for entrusting me with such an amazing yet heavy responsibility. I know you haven’t done this because you believe I’m ‘ready for the challenge’. You have done this because you know I can’t manage the challenge without keeping you first and foremost in my heart. So never loosing sight of the real purpose, I press on toward the goal.