I was reading through the first letter to Timothy recently and was impressed with how much time Paul spends on Timothy’s private spiritual life. I think the reason for this is plain. You will not make it far in preaching and teaching the Gospel if your walk with God is a mess.
Paul, ever the practical preacher, instructs Timothy on how to stay faithful to God and be a healthy Christian. In 1 Timothy 4:15-16, it reads,
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and your teaching. Persist in this, for by doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers.English Standard Version
Three phrases stick out in this passage of Scripture. These three phrases show us the three necessary things to remain faithful.
“Immerse yourself in them.” – To remain faithful and for Timothy to fulfill his ministry, he needed to be immersed in the things of God. He needed to fill his life with the Word, prayer, praise, and good works.
“Keep a close watch” – Timothy also needed to pay close attention to two things to remain faithful. His own life and his teaching. Where one goes, so will the other. I have known of preachers who they, or family members, got involved in sin, and lo and behold, they changed their doctrine. If Timothy was to fulfill his ministry, he needed to pay close attention.
“Persist” – Timothy, if he was to fulfill his ministry and stay faithful, he needed to persist. Persist is defined as to “continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.” Being a Christian is hard, and it is not for the faint of heart, especially for those who would preach. But, the rewards are far greater than anything the world can offer.
The letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus are full of great practical lessons for all believers for our daily lives. These two verses show us the three things we need in order to stay faithful to God. May we all be immersed in the things of God, pay close attention to our lives, and persist in our faith to the very end.