“set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
(1 Timothy 4:12)
The 19th century Scottish minister, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, wrote,
“It was noticed long ago that men will give you leave to preach against their sins as much as you will, if .. you will but be easy with them when you have done, and live as they live.”
Paul is addressing that same issue here when he challenges and encourages Timothy to live out the Christian teaching and faith. It carries on from the depths of Jesus instruction in the Sermon on the Mount during which He too said that His disciples were to be the light of the world, and visibly so. It is not enough to subscribe to a view within the walls of a church, it must be lived out and modelled in our everyday lives. We must teach by our words and by our conduct.
Paul identifies five specific areas that should receive our daily attention, and which should be an example and an encouragement to those around us.
- In speech – both what we say and the way that we say it
- In life – our lifestyle, the way that we live our lives and undertake our work and responsibilities
- In love – our relationships and attitudes towards everyone around us
- In faith – trust in, and obedience and loyalty to the Lord at all times
- In purity – living to the standards of Christ in our thoughts, words and deeds
Our call is not to be as others are in the world, but to be holy, to be as lights in the darkness and to be expressions of God’s love.
Be Aware – everything you think and say and do is a statement to those around you.
Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, so that what is seen in my life will be an expression of Your love. Amen.