Take heed unto thyself.… — 1 Timothy 4:16
Are you constantly serving others without giving yourself needed times of rest and refreshing? Or do you remember that you have spiritual needs too?
When Paul wrote First Timothy 4:16, Timothy was a young pastor working ferociously to see his ministry succeed. Timothy was serving as the pastor of the giant church of Ephesus — the world’s largest church at that time. In the process, he was learning to deal with all the problems that go along with serving as the senior pastor of such a large church.
Timothy was discovering that taking care of a large church was an all-consuming task. He was giving every ounce of himself to serve the needs of that church and to make sure it was well taken care of. In fact, he was so busy taking care of everything and everyone else that he was forgetting to take care of himself!
Have you ever been guilty of running around and taking care of everyone else except yourself? Have you ever gotten so busy helping others that you forfeited your own vital time with God? Be honest! Have you ever done this so regularly that you began to feel drained, and you knew it was because you weren’t taking care of your own spiritual needs?
That’s why Paul admonished Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself.…” This phrase “take heed” comes from the Greek word epecho, which is a compound of the words ep and echo. The word ep means on, and the word echo means to have or to hold. When these two words are compounded into one word, it means to grab hold of something very tightly. In other words, the word epecho describes an extremely firm grip.
It’s so easy to get distracted by other things that scream for your attention. However, if your relationship with God suffers because you are trying to help everyone else, it will just be a matter of time until you run dry, lose your energy and passion, and have nothing more to offer. This is exactly what was happening to Timothy! If he was to continue serving as an effective minister to other people, he had to set aside some private time to develop his own relationship with God.
Paul’s words to Timothy could be translated:
“Get ahold of yourself….”
“Make your own spiritual life a priority….”
“Don’t get so busy that you forget you have spiritual needs too….”
It’s good to serve the Lord and to be willing to work. You should be faithful at whatever He has called you to do. But you should never get so busy that you forget your own spiritual needs and thus end up running dry of spiritual power. Take Paul’s words to heart. Never forget to “take heed unto thyself”!
If you are going to serve God and do His will for years to come, it is essential that you make your own spiritual life your first priority. After all, you can give only what you have inside you. If you run dry because you never spend time with the Lord, it won’t be long until you have nothing left to give to anyone!
So if you wish to continue being effective for God’s Kingdom, it is mandatory that you don’t forget about your own spiritual need to grow and to be refreshed by the Word. As Paul’s words could be understood, “Don’t get so busy that you forget you have spiritual needs too!”
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me remember not to neglect my own spiritual life. My time with You is vital if I am to remain spiritually fresh and empowered to serve others. When life gets so busy that I think there is no time to spend with You, help me refocus and reschedule my life so that my relationship with You remains my greatest priority. And after I’ve been refreshed by Your Word and Your Presence, help me then to minister the fullness of Your Spirit and Your love to those around me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly proclaim by faith that my spiritual life is my number-one priority. I pay attention to my walk with God, and I do everything I can do to make sure my spiritual life is alive, growing, and constantly reaching out for more of the Lord. I am sensitive to God’s Spirit. I am attuned to His Word. As a result of putting my own spiritual life first, I am filled with enough power and love to adequately serve the needs of those who are around me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. How much time do you personally spend alone with God every day?
2. Have you gotten so busy serving the Lord that you have neglected your own walk with Him? If so, write down any problems you may be facing in different areas of your life because of this neglect.
3. What steps do you need to take to reverse this situation and refocus on your relationship with Jesus?