It's a Way of Life
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Timothy 4:16
We are living in difficult days. Not only do we have an enemy that is trying his hardest to trip us up in our Christian walk, but Christians are beginning to compromise their lifestyles and beliefs to feel more comfortable in this temporary world we live in. I see it all around me and worse yet, I find it creeping into my own life. Sometimes, I think the older we get the harder it is to deny the seductive lull of what the world promises will satisfy - power, money, success, influence, gratifying our flesh through whatever means we are prone to temptation, etc. In this verse, Paul is giving Timothy some instructions about what to guard in his own life and what to be on guard against. He warns Timothy that in his day (and ours!) people would fall away from the faith and be deceived by all kinds of false teaching. He tells Timothy to devote himself to God's Word, prayer and teaching. Here's a reality check - following God is going to make our lives look different. That's the point!! He compares us as the body of Christ to a city on a hill whose light cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-15).
So, if we take to heart Paul's advice to Timothy, we should watch our lives. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and help us answer the following questions: - Does my lifestyle clearly reflect that I am a follower of Christ? - What activities, habits and pleasures am I pursuing that dull my light or cause me to look and act just like the world? If you're not sure, ask yourself if Jesus has set a standard for these behaviors in Scripture or modeled for us what to do or how to act in a given situation.
We should also heed Paul’s warning to Timothy to closely watch our doctrine. - Whose teaching am I regularly sitting under? Where am I learning about God? (Have you read your church's doctrinal statement to see what they believe and what's influencing their teaching of God's Word to you)? - Am I comparing what I hear others tell me about God with what I find in God's Word? God's Word is always THE authority and unfortunately, in these days we have to be on guard against teachers that tell us what we want to hear or what will benefit them! Ultimately, if we persevere in guarding godly lifestyles and beliefs, the result will be blessing not only for us, but those who “hear” us, or those we influence – family, friends, co-workers, strangers. Our lives and doctrine are a testimony to God and being around us should encourage others to embrace God and His plan for their lives.