The Apostle Paul had two spiritual sons, Timothy and Titus. Timothy was pastor in Ephesus and Titus was pastor in Crete. Paul wrote them letters that had a dual purpose. The first purpose was to instruct, encourage and to guide them in their personal development as pastors. The second purpose was to give them guidelines on how to select and appoint other leaders in the local congregation.
In Titus chapter 1:5-11, Paul lists the requirements for leaders. Two of his requirements for leaders are that leaders need to have a firm grip on their personal life and the Word of God.
“He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.” Titus 1:8-9 (MSG)
Paul points out two key areas leaders should have a strong grip on; the first is self, or self-control which is the ability to control one’s emotions, behavior, and desires. To have a firm grip is to take and keep a firm hold of, to have effective control of, and finally to have a good understanding of something. The church and society are full of strong and talented people who are failures because of lack of self-control. Just because we have the ability to do something, does not make it right. Control of self as a pastor and a leader should be a top priority in our daily lives. Whenever we lose self-control people get hurt and we bring shame to the kingdom of God.
The second key for a good leader is to have “a good grip on the Message”, which is the Gospel. Pastors or anyone who desires to become a leader in the church should be able to “accurately (handle) the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) In these last days it is important that men and women of God have a good grip on the Word of God; it is only the Word of God that can save the lost.
When you stand in your pulpit to preach, you ought to preach the book and not your philosophy. Preach the Word, not the latest political issues. Preach the Word as a skillful practitioner rightly dividing the word of truth.
As we move forward, remember we must have a strong grip on self and our message!