Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.
1 Timothy 4:14-16 (NLT)
Paul is speaking to young Timothy in the above passage. Timothy was leading the church of Ephesus at the time of this writing and he was meeting much opposition from false teachers.
His mentor Paul was giving him instructions to use his spiritual gift to combat these enemies of the Gospel.
Paul’s Warnings to Timothy
He cautioned him to stop those who engaged in discussions about myths that only led to meaningless speculations.
The purpose of Paul’s instruction was that “all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”
He stressed to Timothy specifically the importance of having a clear conscience. Paul’s poignant words in 1 Timothy 4:14-16 not only apply to Timothy but to all believers as well.
We may not have had a “laying on of hands” experience as Paul did; but the moment we received Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us and gave us our spiritual gifts.
Don’t Waste Your Gifts
Paul doesn’t speak lightly to Timothy regarding the use of his gifts. He says to give the matters his complete attention, to throw himself into tasks, so that everyone will see his progress.
In the New American Standard Bible, the phrase “throw himself into tasks” is translated be absorbed in these matters. “Give complete attention to,” “be absorbed in”: these are strong words that show our faith walk is to be anything but casual.
In the next verse (v. 16), Paul warns Timothy to keep a close watch on his lifestyle and on his teaching. We mustn’t miss the connection between how we live our lives and our teachings.
These two things go hand and hand. And if we want to live a productive life for Christ, we must be sure that the way we live is consistent with what we believe.
Don’t Neglect Your Gifts
God’s Word is timeless. This means that just as Timothy was instructed by Paul through the Holy Spirit, so we must be also. “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…” God said to us through His servant Paul. We must be so absorbed in the matters of Christ and His Church that we are equipped to combat the false teachers of our day.
We need to keep watch over our life and our teaching (others are watching us!) so that they will see the truth in us and turn over their lives to Jesus.