Today you should read: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
1 Timothy 3:1-13 is classically known as the passage that is most commonly referenced as the characteristics of leaders in the church. There is a high bar of expectations that has been set for leaders, and rightly so. For example, James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (ESV) Leaders in the church must lead out not just in skill and competency, but most importantly in character.
But when you think of the characteristics of the qualifications listed for elders and deacons, we must also realize that these characteristics are not just for those in official positions of leadership, they are characteristics of everyone who follows Jesus. New Testament theologian D.A. Carson says of these qualities: “The criteria mentioned are demanded of all Christians everywhere. Which is another way of saying, elders are first of all to be exemplars of the Christian graces that are presupposed as mandated on all Christians.” (Blogger Tim Challies has also written a helpful series of blog posts on this idea)
As you begin this second day of the new year, think about what it would look like for these character qualities to be ever more present in your life this year:
- “Above reproach”: to have godly character in every aspect of your life.
- “A one woman man”: to be a man (or woman) that is relationally and sexually pure in your thoughts and desires.
- “Sound judgement”: being wise and making wise decisions.
- “Hospitable”: welcoming friends and strangers into your life.
- “Gentle”: just like the fruit of the Spirit: gentle with others in real life (and on social media).
- “Temperate”: not being controlled or addicted by anything other the Holy Spirit.
- “Generous”: What do your money habits reveal about your heart?
- “Family leadership”: allowing your home to be a spiritually healthy environment.
- “Mature and humble”: growth in maturity naturally leads to growth in humility.
- “Respected by outsiders”: you have a good reputation by those outside the church.
- “Able to teach”: are you able to explain what the Bible says to your children or friends that have questions?
As a next step, think about what disciplines would lead to growth in these character qualities? Spend time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to accomplish what you can’t, and for God’s transforming grace to help you submit your thoughts, desires and actions to God’s good design for your life.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate