The Christian Example
I was reading 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verses 12-16 (KJV) the other day and was struck by Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to be an example to the believers and to let his progress in the faith be evident to all.
The passage lists several ways in which Timothy was to do this. In verse 12 we are told that we are to be an example by our words or what comes out of our mouth. I am amazed sometimes by what I hear come out of the mouths of Christians and even my own mouth. Our words reflect what is in our heart (Matt 15:18). We need to guard our words and make sure they bring life (Pr 18:21) and are full of faith. (Mark 11:23) Timothy was exhorted to be an example in love (charity); this is Gods cardinal command to us (John 15:17). We are to love others as much as we love God (Matt 22:37-40).
The new spirit inside us (John 3:3-6), illuminated by the Spirit of God (Rom 9:1), should shine out of us in all we do, in our conduct. Our faith should be evident to all and an example and encouragement to others.
Finally, in verse 12, Paul tells us we should be an example in purity. God calls us to purity in thought, speech and action. Purity is to be without blemish or contamination. This all sounds like a tall order but Paul in our passage indicates how we can move in the right direction (verses 13-16). He talks about doctrine, the word of God, and our need to read study and meditate it. We are to give attention to it, give ourselves entirely to it and continue in it; get the idea?
In verse 16 we are told that our efforts will result in our growth and maturation as Christians and our ability to walk in all God has for us.
Sounds good to me.