"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul warns his young protégé Timothy, "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Out of all the things that a young leader could be concerned about, why do you think Paul focused a watchful eye on self and teaching?
Paul warned Timothy to keep a watchful eye on self and teaching for several reasons. One of the hardest tasks to accomplish as a Christian leader is too remained focused on our calling. In ministry it can become easy to be distracted by many elements. When we take our eyes off the “mission” God has given us, it leaves us susceptible for other attacks as well. When a leader is “mission” minded fulfilling the calling of God, the enemy loves few things more than to be able to distract and interrupt God’s work.
From the beginning of chapter four, Paul has been given spiritual and moral guidance regarding how to be the best Christian leader and Minister Timothy can be. Paul is warning Timothy to be on guard for false teachers, doctrines, to warn other Christians of their sin, and even how to “train yourself to be godly” (v.7). Verses 11-14 instruct Timothy how to be a good leader and example, free from moral failure. Verse 16 only continues this trend by telling him as another version of 1 Timothy 4:15 says to, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.”
Paul, being the great mentor and leader that he was had a vast knowledge of what it took to be a spiritual leader. Now, since his conversion he was a Christian leader who also knew the Judaic laws, customs, and traditions. He knew the commandments, character, and moral expectations God had for His people. Paul was a perfect Christian Leader’s mentor as he came from a formerly educated Jewish and Roman background. From his conversion experience and his educational background he could understand what it was that people saw and expected different from the Christians than the Jew. Paul understood the value of not only looking good (the Jewish method), but also being good at heart (Christ’s way). Paul knew that if Timothy could be distracted by all the false doctrines and temptations that come with leadership, he would also soon be teaching these beliefs as well. This would not only lead to his inevitable demise, but also that of all those believers under his leadership. These things are easily crept in when there are distractions all around, however if we stand firm on the Word of God we can stop these things in their paths before they ever arrive.