“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and those that hear thee.” (1 Tim. 4. 16).
No language can adequately set forth the moral importance of this. It is, of course, important for all Christians; but, for the workman, preeminently so, for to such it is here particularly addressed. He, above all, will need to take heed to himself. He must guard the state of his heart, the state of his conscience, his whole inward man. He must keep himself pure. His thoughts, his affections, his spirit, his temper, his tongue, must all be kept under the holy control of the Spirit and word of God. He must wear the girdle of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.
It is morally dangerous, in the extreme, for a man to teach in public what he does not live in private – dangerous for himself, most damaging to the testimony, and injurious to those with whom he has to do. What can be more deplorable or humiliating than for a man to be characterized by contradicting in his personal history and in his domestic life, the truth which he utters in the public assembly?
Solemn admonition. What care is needed! What holy watchfulness! What earnest, prayerful, constant waiting upon God for the right thing to say and the right way to say it! God only knows the state and the need of souls. He knows their capacity. We do not.
How it sets before us the urgent need of self-emptied dependence upon the power and guidance of the Holy Ghost! Here lies the precious secret of all effective ministry, whether oral or written.
Nothing equivocal, nothing strange or startling would then be sent forth. Nothing but what is sound and seasonable would flow from the lips or the pen.
“Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed; cutting in a straight line the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2. 15).