"Walk the Talk"

Bible Book: 
1 Timothy / 1 Timoteus
Verse (to): 

Text: 1 Timothy 3:1-13

Although opinions differ about the exact role of the leaders or the offices that are under discussion in this section, one thing is clear: in each congregation/community there will be people who act as leaders, so it is vitally important that these people are believers of good character. These leaders have to live the proper example for the community through their lives. Even outside the circle of the community, their lives have to be ‘worthy of respect’. (comp 3:7).
In his introduction to this letter, Paul already emphasises that the purpose of his command to Timothy is more than the combating of false doctrines and the teaching of the sound doctrine: ‘The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith’ (1:5). Paul’s own history of salvation and his life, is an example of the fact that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners (comp.1:14-16). That is why Timothy has to fight the good fight, hold on to faith and a good conscience (comp.1:18-19). After having given instructions about the leaders (3:1-13), Paul repeats that he is writing this letter so that Timothy will ‘know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth’ (3:15).
It is clear that living from a pure heart - living with a good conscience, living a life that sets the right example, a life that substantiates the message of grace and salvation, a life in which leaders behave properly – plays a vital role in each community. It even determines the way in which the community bears witness in the world.
Preventive programmes in the aAIDS domain are directed towards the combating of the spread of the HI virus. To Christians this will naturally imply that preventive programmes include the establishment of Christian truths and norms. It has, unfortunately, become clear that the values and norms are not necessarily built around prescribed rules and the holding up of pretty ideals. The greatest need in preventive programmes is good role models.
‘Actions speak louder than words’ is a well-known saying. The conveying of nicely formulated lessons are fine, but if they don’t come with role models who put them into practice, their impact will be limited.
Paul was well aware of the importance of the example that leaders set. That is why the community needs to make sure that the people who are in the lead substantiate their leadership with the way they live. Do we still understand this principle, or do we think that we can trick others with our rules and sweet-sounding lessons so that they don’t notice how we live?
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