“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1Timothy4:16)
Although it seems to contradict the ethical teachings of the Old and the New Testament, the Apostle Paul is coaching Timothy to join what we might call a “Me First Club.” While we’re trying to understand humility as it is taught in the Bible or while we’re learning to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, the very sound of a “Me First Club” seems to be a loud screeching discord.
However, if we will think about it there are places where we are instructed by our Lord to put ourselves first. For example, in the opening verses of the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus teaches His disciples that when it comes to judging we should join a “Me First Club.” Showing a great sense of humor Jesus taught that we should not be looking for that tiny speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye when we have a log or a plank in our own eye. His priority judgment was that we are to first get that log out of our own eye and then we will see clearly to help others with that tiny speck in their eye.
Paul is instructing Timothy that before he challenges others to apply the doctrine (which means the Word of God), to their lives that they might experience salvation, he is to first apply the Word of God to his own life and experience salvation himself. There are times and there are ways in which if we don’t save ourselves we can’t save anybody else.
In areas like salvation and judging are you willing to say “Me first?”