1 Timothy 4 Lesson

Encouraging One Another To Use Our Spiritual Gifts

PAUL ENCOURAGES TIMOTHY

In 1 Timothy Chapter 4, Timothy receives what amounts to a “pep talk” from Paul. The older and more experienced Paul encourages Timothy to do four things:

  1. To show himself as an example to those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity,
  2. To give attention to the public reading of scripture (especially until Paul comes),
  3. To exhort and teach,
  4. To not neglect the spiritual gift that has been bestowed upon him.

The basic message that Paul has for Timothy is this:  

  • “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.” 1 Timothy 4:14.

So how do Paul’s words to Timothy apply to us today, and what action do we need to take?

The first thing that we need to do is take a spiritual inventory to identify the unique gifts that God has blessed us with.

In The Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians, he listed nine “fruits” that one should possess if the Holy Spirit is active in their life. Paul wrote:

  • “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

One way that we can take a Spiritual inventory of ourselves is to see which fruits of the Spirit are active in our lives, and which are not.

  1. Love,
  2. Joy,
  3. Peace,
  4. Patience,
  5. Kindness,
  6. Goodness,
  7. Faithfulness,
  8. Gentleness,
  9. And self-control.

We need to ask ourselves if we were judged today, would we be found to have been faithful Christians who possess all these Godly characteristics?  Or will we be like the many who will pursue their own sinful lusts instead of Jesus and perish?

In the Gospel of Mathew, Jesus warned us not to be complacent.  We are to prepare ourselves diligently for the day of judgment! Consider the following scripture as you think about your preparedness for that critical day:

  • Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” – Mathew 7:21-23.

SELF-ASSESSMENT

We gain helpful perspective when we reflect on our lives and assess where we are doing well, and where we can improve.  For example, we may have a lot of love in our lives, but not much patience.  Or we may be faithful but lack gentleness.

Taking a Spiritual inventory can be a soul-saving exercise!

It is particularly valuable, for example, to recognize that we have not been very patient lately.  There is a wise saying, “You cannot manage a secret.”  Knowing where we can improve is an important first step in preparing ourselves for the day of judgment.         

Once we identify the area or areas that need some work, we should ask ourselves how we can improve.  Whatever areas we are struggling with, Jesus can help! As Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians:

  • “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13.

CONCLUSION 

All of us need to prepare for the final exam that we will be given on the day of judgment.

One of the best ways to begin doing that is by taking a Spiritual inventory!  This will allow us to recognize our strengths, as well as our areas of opportunity.

Once we have identified our unique Spiritual gifts, we need to find ways to put them to work for the Lord!

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture from the Book of James:

  • Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above.” - James 1:17.

Comments

Joe R

These words are simple yet powerful. I think that it is important to continuously re-evaluate the idea of whether we are using our spiritual gifts to give glory to God and build each other up or using our spiritual gifts for our own personal gain. In my own personal experience, I find that it can be difficult to differentiate these things at times. I work in the helping professions and I find a deep spiritual connection with my work and I also take personal satisfaction in the work itself. Therefore, I find that it is important for me to recognize opportunities to give thanks to God rather than take credit when clients express their appreciation for the work I do. Admittedly, this can be difficult at times. Thus, I think it is important to recognize the gifts we have been blessed with, seek to give glory to God as we build each other up, and remain vigilant regarding doing the work for public recognition versus doing the work for the sake of giving glory to God. I ask for discernment to help me to grow closer to God by utilizing the gifts I have been blessed with while maintaining awareness that it is for His glory. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Reply
Dan W

May God help us all to remember the blessings of endurance.

Reply
Tommy

Receive God's gifts with an attitude of gratitude. Amen!

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