Show Yourself Vigilant
The Apostle has spoken of what the pastor is supposed to teach; now he must say something about his demeanor and behavior. Indeed, throughout these “Pastoral Epistles” (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus), Paul is encouraging, exhorting, commanding, pleading with these men to be the men of God they must be to lead their charges through the trials and tribulations of this world and into the Kingdom of heaven. Theirs is the noblest and most important task of all. Yes, the Reformers of the sixteenth century taught us the truth that every man and woman has a calling before God and all work is noble when done unto the Lord and for His glory. But we must still never forget that those whom God has specifically called out to lead his church have the most important and most difficult task of all.
We may rightly ask why it is that we so often hear of pastors falling due to sexual sin or some other indiscretion, of popular Bible teachers finally succumbing to a temptation about which many lay people would never dream. In some cases, they were wolves in sheep’s clothing; after all, the Bible teaches us that these will come (Matthew 7:15). But I believe that in most cases, they were men who began with a heart for God, who loved His word, who wanted to lead others to the Savior. But you see, it is these very men whom Satan targets with legions of demons; these are the ones in his crosshairs. Smite the shepherd and the sheep will scatter; aim for the officers so no one can lead the enlisted.
So what must be done? Pastors must be ever-vigilant, on guard, shield in hand, weapons at the ready: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.” And why do this: “So that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Overseers who fall from grace fall out of negligence to the spiritual disciplines—Bible study and meditation, prayer, personal and corporate worship, accountability to other men, seeking opportunities to do good—and worst of all, allowing Satan a foothold somewhere in their lives—their marriage, their thought world, their financial struggles, anywhere there is weakness—and we all have weaknesses. A man must know his weakness and guard himself there better than anyplace else—especially when he doesn’t feel the temptation—for that is precisely when Satan is deceiving the man into letting his guard down. You can be sure that when you thought you had beaten it, a TORRENT of temptation will come crashing down on that particular weakness. Vigilance!