“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16, NLT).
In 1 Timothy, chapter 4, Paul advises Timothy with his responsibility as a teacher of the Gospel. It is a strong lesson for the young man, and filled with crucial advice. The Scripture today is the last verse, and it brings to a powerful conclusion the whole message of the chapter. “Timothy,” he imparts, “be careful how you live, but not only be careful in your living; be careful in your teaching. Those you teach watch you.” Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:3 (NIV), “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” Our life is ministry. Someone watches us. Someone listens to us. Everyone leads someone else. For the sake of own salvation, and the salvation of those who watch and listen to us, we must remain true to our faith with which God has entrusted us.
It is difficult to understand the manner in which some Christians interpret Scripture. When sharing a personal belief or a point of view or a sudden revelation, they fail to understand the power they have to influence others. If what they share is wrong, it leads others astray, and has the potential to cause spiritual damage. Just as Paul told Timothy we must remain true for not only the sake of others, but for ourselves. We are called to live and share His word with integrity. If we don’t want to become a stumbling block to others, we will share beliefs and thoughts accountably and also live a holy life that reflects what we say.
Have you ever considered the fact that what you teach, say, share, or live effects the one right next to you? We have the potential to speak life or death. We have the power to impart peace. When we surrender to His truth and allow it to transform our lives, we have His power and no man-made counterfeit. We are His children, who inspired by the Holy Spirit, interpret Scripture in light of our own personality—in light of reason, and personal experience. But we must always carefully consider the words that we offer as truth. Always remember how these words may tear down a life or build it up. Share His Word with integrity and live its message. That is when lives are changed. That is when hearts are renewed.
Lord, help us, in what we impart and how we live to always remain faithful.