For some time now I have been thinking and praying about what is found in 1 Timothy 4:16.
"Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." ESV
"Watch your life and doctrine closely" NIV
I am reminded of the pastor who wisely said that there were two parts to the gospel; believing it and behaving it.
Here a few observations from this important verse:
- It is a matter of watching both, not one or the other. My life in Christ should flow out of what I believe. Life and doctrine go togther
- In many teaching churches, more is made of doctrine than life which leads to hypocricy in not living what we claim to believe
- Some leaders (especially those who are theologically oriented) have a tendency to let their life slide (particularly such traits as compassion, gentleness, kindness) and spend an inordinate amount of time fighting for the truth as they see it with a peculiar nastiness toward all who see things differently
- Many pre-Christians are more interested in our life than our doctrine. It is the appeal of a Jesus-centered life that draws them to faith, not a finely crafted list of what we believe
- I personally find it much harder to watch my life than my doctrine
- I am admonished in this verse to persist in keeping a close watch over both. I should therefore never stop paying close and prayerful attention to both; especially when I think I am doing okay and can slack off a bit