We've all the heard the saying, "Walk the walk and talk the talk." This is an important precept for followers of Christ to follow. We may be the only Bible some people will ever see -- is what they hear from your faith-talk consistent with how you live your life?
Paul wrote, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity....Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." [1 Timothy 4:12, 16]
Paul admonishes Timothy to watch his "life and doctrine closely." Do we talk about God meeting our needs but don't have enough faith to entrust Him with the checking account or tithing?
Do we talk about salvation through faith in Christ but walk around with such a low and joyless countenance that people wonder what the big deal is?
Do we smile at strangers, knowing that our faces can joyfully present the smile of Christ? Do you say that reading and studying the Bible are things we should do -- but you don't bring your Bible to church?
We too need to watch our lives and doctrines closely. Do we condemn a man Christ has forgiven? Would we want someone to hold our pasts, sins, and transgressions over our heads -- the very things we have repented of, received forgiveness for, and continue to have thrown in our faces by people with 2x4s sticking out of their eyes? How Christ-like is your life? How biblical is your doctrine?
Paul tells the young preacher Timothy to set an example for believers in "speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." How much more are we called to do that? Do we set the example, or can one not distinguish a Christian from a nonbeliever?
Make sure your life dovetails the doctrine of faith you are called to live. This is especially true of people called to preach the Gospel of Christ, who bear the burden of teaching. In this day and age, people don’t want to hear sound doctrine, afraid of what it may do to their social justice and political agendas.
Paul wrote more to Timothy on this subject: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry,” [2 Timothy 4:3-5].
Even as Christians not called to fill a pulpit, we are called to present the Gospel in our lives. We can do this in how we handle hardships. We can do this in forming relationships with people who desperately need the Gospel. We love them. We minister to them. We let our actions speak before our words. We cannot beat someone over the head with the King James and hate them into heaven. It’s about relationships, and making sure the people we witness to see that our lives reflect the doctrine we speak.
The world, ruled by the prince of darkness himself (satan), with its emphasis on political correctness, rights, agendas, and anti-God messages in everything, is loving people straight to hell. If we as Christians loved others as Christ loved us, and had a bold faith to share His Gospel, we’d see an incredible revival come to this world.
As it stands right now, we the Church need to look inward, beg forgiveness of dropping the ball, and make sure our lives dovetail the doctrine we preach.
How closely does your life match your doctrine?
(c) 2016 Terrie McKee
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