1 TIMOTHY 4:16
“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
I know what you are thinking. “Save yourself? What are you saying, Carl?” Before you call the heresy police, let me explain. Paul is instructing Timothy to be careful to continue to teach true doctrine and follow it himself. By doing this he will show to others that he is a true follower of Christ and a faithful minister of the Gospel. His first concern should be his personal spiritual growth and then secondly, the salvation and growth of others.
There was a problem already arising in the early church of false teachers and preachers. They saw an opportunity to deceive others by preying on their desire to know God. So, these false teachers would teach false doctrines pointed at benefitting themselves. Paul was warning Timothy about appearing as one of them.
We, as parents, should similarly instruct our children to have as their first priority to grow spiritually. Through Bible Study, prayer, worship and fellowship with other believers, they can continue their growth as a disciple of Christ. And then they will be prepared to reach out to the lost around them. But you can’t fully disciple others until you are grounded yourself.
I have seen far too many new converts get sidetracked trying to go back into the world to reach their lost friends. The lures of their past are strong. It is so easy to get sucked back into them. So, we need to help strengthen their resolve before unleashing them to pursue others. I am not saying they shouldn’t witness to others. I am saying they should be prepared to do so.
This does not give you an excuse to keep your faith to yourself. We are commanded to go witness to the world. But the Lord wants us to guard ourselves against the wiles of the devil. He knows our weaknesses and will throw everything he can at us to distract us or bring us down. Prepare yourself and be faithful to share.
Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank You, Lord, for making me whole. Thank You, Lord, for giving to me life more abundant.