Saturday, Sept. 20.
Howard Hendricks pointed out the significance of a short admonition that Paul addressed to Timothy. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine . . .” 1 Tim. 4:16 (KJV). He pointed out that Paul told Timothy to take heed to himself and then to his teaching. The teacher or preacher needs to have a proper view of himself before he can instruct others. Of course no one is perfect, but the point is that we need to “practice what we preach.” Our message is not going to be heeded if our life is not in order. This includes a realistic view of both our assets and our liabilities. There are two “ditches” here. We can have an inflated view of ourselves. “ . . . do not think more highly of yourself than you ought . . .” I have seen this in a number of preachers as you probably have, too. (I suspect that I’ve been guilty of this at times, too). The other ditch is to minimize one’s abilities. A humble position is both desired and necessary, but overstating the case in order to appear humble is not appropriate. God is the One who enables and the focus should be on the message, not the messenger. Hendrick’s point is not just to recognize our strengths and weaknesses, but to take action. We are to be conformed to Christ (Rom. 8:29). WE NEED TO CHANGE. I need to be aware of how God has changed me over the years, but giving Him the credit for it, not “Look how I’ve changed.” And when it comes to liabilities, it should be an appeal to God to change me, to make an effort to change and not “That’s just the way I am” or “I’m as good a Joe Blow.” Our standard is Jesus Christ, not even Paul or Billy Graham. If we are in the process of changing, people will know it, and we will be viable witnesses.