One of the Bible verses that I repeat to myself regularly is in the letter from the Apostle Paul to his young friend and evangelist Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The first words are what captures my attention. Watch your LIFE and DOCTRINE closely.
Doctrine reflects what we believe. The main idea is to hold on to a faith that has a deep understanding. We have read the Bible, studied its meaning and drawn some big conclusions about God.
Life is a description of how we live. The main idea is that the faith that is in our head is seen in our actions. It is one thing to say I know the right things and it is quite another to do them.
Paul tells Timothy to watch is life AND his doctrine closely. We must continually be examining both areas of our lives. The tendency for many of us is to focus on one aspect of faith. As a result, we have people with vast knowledge who do nothing with it or we have people doing great actions but have no real understanding of why they are doing them. We have people in the Church who only want to sit in class and be fed and we have people who are always active in their faith with little knowledge. Paul tells Timothy that both are needed. Doctrine not being lived out is worthless and action without doctrine is social care.
A Christian in someone who has a knowledge of what God’s word teaches and is trying to live out all they are learning. Watch both sides carefully.