I’ve been writing a lot lately about influencing others through leadership and service. Indeed, making a positive impact on those around us is greatly important. However, you must never forget that it is even more important to prepare yourself before the Lord.

We see the apostle Paul address this truth in a letter he wrote to Timothy, a young minister who looked to Paul as a mentor. The letter, which we know today as the book of 2 Timothy, is full of Paul’s advice on how to successfully lead and serve in the church. However, among Paul’s words of wisdom about how to lead other people, Paul wrote this very direct statement to young Timothy: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, KJV).

The word translated as “study” in this context is the Greek word “spoudazo,” which I have mentioned several times in the last few weeks. The word means to put your “all” into an activity, to pour your heart and soul into an endeavor. Paul wanted to make sure Timothy would not forget that in the midst of ministering to others, he needed to be very diligent about reading, studying, and understanding the word of God for himself.

You see, we are nourished by God’s word. Just as we grow weak physically without food, we grow weak spiritually without taking time to meditate on Scripture. If we are weak ourselves, we can do little to minister to others. So, take time every day to read and meditate on the word of God so you will remain strong in the Lord and ready for His service.