It is amazing how susceptible people can become to false views and emotion-based errors. Paul warned Timothy (1 Tim 4:3) that for some “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” or “healthy teachings” (Gk., hugiaino, from which we get the English word hygiene).
Scriptural teachings may seem old fashioned, or out of date, so people will choose teachers “according to their own desires” (the word for “lusts,” or a craving for feelings and emotional experiences), “because they have itching ears” (a metaphor for wanting to feel good or boost their self-image), “they will heap up for themselves teachers” (4:3). Self-help and sentimental preachers are always popular.
Paul gives four imperatives in response to these circumstances. First, he commands Timothy (and us as well) to “be self-controlled” (lit. “free from intoxicants,”) or “sober-minded, watchful,” that is, well balanced and in control of our thoughts and actions. In the midst of a world in contradicting ideas, fables and persecution, we are to be calm and balanced “in all things,” avoiding fads and the sensational.
Second, Timothy was to “definitively decide to endure hardship” (i.e., to “suffer misfortune, evil or affliction”). Any biblically based ministry or person will inevitably be persecuted. Part of being “self-controlled” is to know that difficulties will come and to decide the proper reaction: we should tell ourselves, “I will endure it, without complaining, griping, or reacting as Israel did”(1 Cor 10:9-11).
There is no greater privilege than to suffer for His name’s sake (Acts 5:41). Is this your desire?
Third, Timothy was to “urgently decide do an evangelist’s work.” He is not called an “evangelist,” but he is commanded to do the work of an evangelist, just as any other member of the church. This means we are to help unbelievers become aware of their sinfulness and to show them how Christ Jesus alone can resolve their sinful issues with God.
Fourth, Timothy was to “decisively commit to fulfilling” his ministry. The verb means to “bring to completion, or thoroughly accomplish.” Paul’s passion is summarized in Acts 20:24: “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”
May God give you the commitment to finish His purpose for your life (Eph 2:10).
“Lord, I know the path You have chosen for me is not an easy one and that it is full of risks; please keep my heart burning for the souls of men to see them turn to trust You.”