22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:22-26)
Getting involved in ministry and serving God is a great privilege. But sometimes we forget what is truly important. We forget our own relationship and walk with God. We become too busy with our tasks and we forget to take care of our own spirituality. Consequently, we also become ineffective in helping others. What we need to do is to watch ourselves in order to help others watch themselves.
How can we watch ourselves? The first thing we need to do is to watch our walk with God (vv.22-23). This has a negative connotation as well as a positive connotation. Negatively, we need to flee certain things that we know will not be helpful to our spiritual growth. On the other hand, and on a more positive note, we need to pursue certain things that would really help us grow spiritually. We need to do this, not by ourselves, but in community with others. We need to be pro-active when it comes to our spiritual walk. We cannot leave it to chance. Second, we need to watch the way we influence others for God (vv.24-26). We need to influence others for their own good and to lead them to a deeper walk with God. Sometimes doing so can be a challenge, especially if they are not willing to accept our advises. We must watch how we try to influence others. We cannot be resentful or quarrelsome. Otherwise we might lose our influence altogether. Instead we must be kind and patient, teaching people how to walk with God as we walk with God. Our hope must be in the Lord who alone can transform human hearts. We must watch the way we influence others for God, because we don’t want to rely on ourselves but on God alone.
Serving the Lord is a great privilege. But we must be careful that we do not lose sight of what is truly important. Ultimately, it’s about relationships, not tasks. It’s about our relationship with God and with other people. Watch yourself and your relationship with God first, then you can help others watch themselves. When you’re spiritually healthy, you will also become effective in your ministry.