A few days ago, I started reading 1 Timothy. I’d like to share two verses which have jumped out at me:
“…keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in. There are some, you know, who by relaxing their grip and thinking anything goes have made a thorough mess of their faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:19
“Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it.” – 1 Timothy 4:16
I don’t know about you, but I noticed a theme in these two verses. Keep a firm grip on yourself. Keep a firm grasp on your character.
I think most of us usually only keep a loose grip on our character. Yes we have rules and values. But do we set up a forcefield around our character? Or do we sometimes hide our character from others?
Character is often defined as “moral or ethical strength”. I think that character has two components – private and public.
My sister gave me a coffee mug when I graduated from college. It reads, “Character is who you are when only God is watching.” Do we do the right thing when no else is around keeping score?
But there’s a public aspect too; it makes up part of our witness to others. Back to 1 Timothy… the second half of verse 12 in chapter 4 says “Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.”
When we fail to keep a firm grip on our character, it can easily slip away. We can lose our credibility with others, but more importantly we can hurt our relationship with God.