In 1 Timothy 4 Paul gets personal. He writes this letter to his protégé Timothy to prepare him for the task of leading the house churches in Ephesus. In verses 6-16 Paul focuses on key elements of self leadership that we can all take seriously. He sums up his charge to Timothy in verse 16, 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. Paul highlights two critical categories for Timothy’s self leadership: himself as the vessel of leadership; and his teaching, which was his primary means of leadership to the various under shepherds of the house churches in Ephesus. Paul also gives us strong reasons for these categories: keeping yourself from destruction; and keeping those you minister to from destruction. Here are some specific areas that Paul amplifies in these verses under these two headings.
Keep a close watch on yourself
- Avoid irreverent and irrelevant discussions-for there is little value
- Instead, train yourself for godliness-for there is eternal value
- As a spiritual leader, set your hope solely on the living God, for He is the only Savior of the world
- Don’t fix your identity by the grading scale of the world
- Instead, be an example of a servant of Christ in your speech, in your conduct, in your love, in your faith, and in your purity
- Don’t neglect your spiritual gifts, they were given to you to steward well
Keep a close watch on your teaching
- Be diligent to train others in faith and good doctrine
- In you teaching, be sure that you are pointing people to Christ as their only hope and salvation
- Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching
Self leadership begins with self awareness. Paul provides Timothy with some worthy categories for reflection. As spiritual leaders, they are worthy of our careful attention. We live in a day where self leadership according to biblical categories has fallen away to the urgency of production, growth, and the cult of personality. Be a self aware, reflective leader.
What are your thoughts on this important topic?