Take heed to thyself -- that's your responsibility. No one will do it for you.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:7-16


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right today? Well, I trust everything’s all right at your house. Remember, whenever you strike a rough day, look up and say, “Lord, see me through this one.” The keyword is always through, not just into. God hasn’t brought you this far to drop you now. Jesus said, “No man is able to take them out of My Father’s hand.” And so, you’re held in the Divine hands today, you just let God lead you and He will.

We’re looking at 1 Timothy 4:16 and in the process, we’ve been reviewing some of the personal terms that are in that chapter, ‘thyself,’ and other related terms showing the personal responsibility we have in developing our own Christian life. “Exercise thyself unto Godliness,” we talked about that for a moment. You have to work at this matter of inviting God in to the ordinaries of life. He is a polite God, He won’t intrude. You need to invite Him in. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” says our Savior. “If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in.” Invite God into the ordinaries of life. Godliness is the quality of God in everyday living. Be an example of the believer, the way you live must prove the truth of your religious profession. Credibility is established on the street, not in the sanctuary. Be an example in the way you live, what you say, the way you live, the quality of Calvary love in your life, the influence that you have on others through your own human spirit, your faith and your holy living.

Then he says, “Don’t neglect the gift.” We touched on that the last time we got together. Accept the kind of person you are. Accept what God has built in to your life and develop it for His glory. Then he says, “Meditate on these things. Give thyself wholly to them.” And this takes up then the matter of absolute commitment to the Will of God. That’s where we left off the last time we got together.

“Give thyself wholly to them,” here’s another ‘thyself’ phrase. The matter of being completely committed to the truth of God. Sadly, most of us have a little side exit in our lives out of which we hope to go when things get a little too tight for us in terms of the difference between our beliefs and our obligations. We fudge a little, we compromise a little. We say, “Well, I know that I should, but these circumstances are too difficult.” We tend to ease out of our God-given responsibility to His Will and through His Word. True, isn’t it? Join the group. I do and I know you do have a tendency to back off from complete commitment to what we know to be God’s Will if the pressure gets too great.

Now, he says, “In doing this you’ll save yourself and them that hear you.” You want a life that’s right and you want an influence that leads other people to Christ? You better think about this matter of complete commitment to God’s Will as revealed in His Word and through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Meditate on these things, give thyself wholly to them.

Small thought here, you tend to give yourself to that about which you are constantly thinking. You tend to give yourself to that about which you are constantly thinking. Take an illustration from my own life. A growing boy in his teens generally thinks that food is pretty important. Don’t you agree? The definition of an American boy is a hungry noise with dirt on it. [chuckle] And when I was in my teens in high school, I was no different from any of the rest. I loved to eat and I was always glad for a chance to come up to the table and fill up.

But I had one great interest in those years, junior and senior year particularly, in high school. And it had to be with cars. I love them, still do for that matter. I like anything mechanical, that’s part of the way I’m built. But, oh, in those days, I was determined that I was going to be the world’s best mechanic and dealer, I was gonna have a dealership and all of that, oh, my teenage dreams. So I began, began working first of all on the old, old car that my father finally relented and bought at some junkyard. It was a 1921 Model T two-door sedan, the kind with the doors in the middle. You got in the middle and went forward or went back, as the case may be. The top was made of fiber board and this particular top had been out in the rain long enough to sag in between the cross bars. So it had waves in the top, but it was an elegant old Ford and had been owned by someone thoughtful and innovative as well, because those unyielding elliptical springs that the Model T had, front and rear, had been added to in terms of some extra coiled springs at the end of the regular spring, so that that acted as a cushion and gave it a very soft ride.

And then someone had added a flower vase inside along the side so that everything that could be added to dress up this poor old relic had been done, and we got it for I don’t know how many, a few dollars, and I began to work on it. [chuckle] Took it apart, put it back together again and put in new piston rings, and new wrist pins, and new connecting rod bearings and all of that. Oh, I was so excited.

And then in the middle of all of doing that, it was New Year’s Day, I worked through most of New Year’s Eve in this old, cold garage that we had nearby where we lived in Toledo, East Toledo. And then came New Year’s Day, I was up early about daylight and was working again on this car, worked right on through. And someone came and said, “Robert, dinner’s ready, New Year’s dinner is ready.” I said, “Don’t bother me, I’ve gotta finish this.” And I worked on through the day until probably 4:00 in the afternoon, and finally I fired up the engine, that beautiful asthmatic cough that the Model T had, you remember that? [laughter] It wasn’t an exhaust, it wasn’t a barking kind of an exhaust like the high-powered engines, it was an asthmatic, wheezing cough, but it sounded beautiful as this thing fired up and ran so beautifully.

All right, give thyself wholly to them, what you think about, what you think about and that on which you set your affections and your loyalties will be ultimately that to which you give yourself. You understand me? Let me ask you then, “What are you thinking about?” He said, “Meditate on these things.” What is that? The scriptural truths. Meditate on the Word of God. The first Psalm speaks of God’s blessed man, his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night. That Hebrew word means chew the cud. Meditate is translated from the Hebrew, it means chew it over, think about it, chew it over. And that which you think about constantly will end up being that to which you give yourself.

Same truth came to me as I thought about Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee.” If you think about God, you’ll end up trusting Him. If you think about something else, you’ll end up trusting it. What you think about becomes that on which you are willing to risk the whole bundle.

Man thinks about money, he’ll risk on money. Man thinks about lust and sin, he’ll risk his life on lust and sin. What is it you’re thinking about? What fills your mind? He said, “Meditate. Give thyself wholly.” What you think about becomes the basis for your commitment. That’s why it’s so important, then, to be filled with the Word of God. We’ll get into that a little longer later on in this verse.

Then he said, “Take heed unto thyself.” Watch yourself. Now, I don’t know how it is with you, but with me I tend to get busy and the business of just living takes over, rather than being very introspective at any given time. I think it’s good for all of us to do what the success books, all the success books say the same thing, “Structure some solitude for yourself. Carve out some time when you’ll be alone to think about yourself.” Why? Because we tend to be disoriented if we get too busy. We get spinning around on our own axis and we don’t really begin to think about where we’re headed. So he says, “Take heed unto thyself.” Have you sat down recently and asked prayerfully, “Lord, which way am I going? What’s happening in my life? What are the developments? What are the growing edges of my life?”

Dr. Clyde Narramore has a disturbing question that he often asks people when he sits down. He asked me one time, I remember, some years ago, we sat down for a cup of coffee, both of us were at some conference or other and I delight to be in his company because he’s so stimulating- you always feel like doing your best when you’ve been with him. And so I sat there eagerly expecting some pearl of wisdom from these learned lips. [chuckle]

And Dr. Narramore looked at me and said, “Well, Bob, what are the growing edges of your life?” That shook me up, I hadn’t thought about it. [laughter] The only growing edge was around my belt line, my waistline was growing. [chuckle] Well, it does you good to think about where you’re growing, if indeed you are. Spiritually, mentally, socially, family-wise, business-wise, community-wise, church-wise. What are the growing edges? Take heed to thyself, that’s your responsibility, no one will do it for you. You can’t hire a consultant to come in and do your introspection for you. That’s something you have to take care of yourself.

Now, he said, “When you do this, the result will be that your personal responsibility will have been fulfilled. And people who contact your life will have been brought to the Savior.” It doesn’t say anything there about preaching, soul winning. It simply says, “You take care of your relationship with God and people who touch your life are gonna be brought to Him.” Isn’t that a beautiful concept? You see, proselyting, getting people to change their religion, that is in the area of human effort. But the miracle of bringing people to God is the result of the indwelling Holy Spirit working through you in everyday living. That’s where it comes, beloved.

Dear Father, today help us to take care of our responsibility so that thou canst work in grace and mercy in our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!

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