May 19, 2019 - Sunday 4:05 AM by JD Vergara
“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)
Towards the end of his life Paul left his young disciple Timothy some valuable instructions about the church, leadership, ministry, and practical life in Christ. He said “watch your life and doctrine closely.” Doctrine is teaching or instructions and Paul is reminding Timothy that his life and teachings must go together to preserve himself and those who hear him preach in the church. Paul here lays down not just a personal instruction to Timothy but also a sure life principle that we can all live by. Like Timothy, we too must see to it that we live in accordance with our declarations and affirmations about Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we find ourselves in an unpalatable state of hypocrisy. Of all the people in the New Testament, Jesus is particularly hard on the hypocrites.
One of the confessions of believers in God is that the latter is good. We even sing this with this line, “God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.” This is a true statement and it should be declared and affirmed. However, we can live in a way contrary to the statement. By our lifestyle we can make the statement false. If we are not doing good and we are claiming that God is good, that makes us hypocrites. In this way we fail to save or “preserve” ourselves and those who believe our words.
The bible is replete with words about being good and doing good. Jesus exemplifies this in his earthly life. In the gospels it says that we are to be salt and light and that it is expected that we “let our life shine before men” so that they may “see our good works and glorify God in heaven.” Jesus said that we ought to be “salt and light.” Salt preserves, while light dispels darkness. By being good and doing good we preserve ourselves and the people around us. This is also true in society. If citizens are doing good, we preserve our society as a result. The book of Hebrews tells us to "consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.“
Now to do good does not entail rocket science or high philosophical system. It simply requires a habit of being aware of what is good and doing it. And we apply this in all areas of everyday life. In interpersonal relationship, we have Paul’s view of love to guide us – “love is patient, love is kind…” This means we must be patient and kind to others, especially to those in our own household. When we deal with people in the gas station, or in a government agency, or when we are attending a governmental function if we are a public servant, we must practice patience and kindness. If the majority of us do this, it would revolutionize the country.
Doing good also requires the simple and obvious things like not indiscriminately throwing our garbage, thereby destroying the environment. Despite the fact that it is being taught in schools to be mindful of the environment, we still see a lot of people, both young and old, throwing trash everywhere. Worse, even our garbage collecting system in the city betrays our lack of concern for the environment. Our garbage trucks stink like hell and clearly do not undergo even the basic daily requirement of care. When garbage trucks collect garbage, they leave behind trash droppings on the main streets. My heart goes to those who scavenge garbage for income, but they, too, recklessly wade through piles of garbage and scatter the garbage everywhere. No one seems to be bothered by anything.
The ones at the forefront of doing good should be God’s people for obvious reasons. Still, we are a country filled with Christians but unfortunately, we are yet to translate our faith to everyday life. Imagine this: if all Christians in this country, in whatever denomination and doctrinal system, just practice doing good for others and for the environment, this nation will be transformed overnight. I do believe this in my heart. Take note: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
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