By Katie Pearson
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16
As humans, we are often disappointed by our own reactions and behavior. While we often blame fatigue or stress, our natural self continues to make unwanted appearances in the form of boasting, lying, perfectionism, over-functioning, defensiveness, and so on. On one hand, it’s important for leaders to normalize sin so shame doesn’t take root, which can lead to hiding. On the other hand, we don’t want to become so conceited that we deny our sin even exists. The Pharisees were famous for self-righteousness, and Jesus would have none of it.
Paul acknowledges his own struggles in Romans 7:18b “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” He confesses his humanity but doesn’t excuse it. In our Scripture today and throughout the Pastoral Letters, Paul charges Timothy to strive for godliness.
How do we, as servant leaders in Christ, live as sinners yet hold positions of power and influence in God’s church? How do we maintain a pure heart and good conscience, so our teaching isn’t influenced by our personal wants, needs, and desires?
We remember that we live under grace, train our minds to stay fixed on truth, and watch our behavior closely. It’s a delicate balance between holy confidence and active repentance. Being aware of our tendencies toward self-protection, self-knowledge, self-satisfaction, and a host of other “self-sins” requires courage, humility, confession, and a willingness to make amends as needed.
Paul is open about his shortcomings, so they don’t overpower or define him. He writes in Ephesians 5:13–14 that anything brought into the light of Christ becomes light as well. In other words, living transparently before God and others (as appropriate) heals our souls, and protects our relationships, which are priceless in effectively sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How well do you recognize your own shadow side? Are you mature enough to turn to Christ when it emerges and respond from your true self instead? Self-awareness and self-absorption are two very different attitudes. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness to uncover any blind spots that might be hindering you from leading with a kingdom mindset. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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