Paul told Timothy, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Tim 4:16). Timothy’s manner of life, as well as his words, preached a message. What we believe and teach is important, but more important is what we practice.
For the Christian, two things must not be separated – sound teaching and a life consistent with that teaching. Paul told the Corinthians, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (2 Cor 3:2-3). Andrew Harriston said, “The Christian’s life is the Lord’s audio-visual.” God does not need more preachers, but more practitioners; not more apostles, but more living epistles.
Is your faith based upon a proper understanding of God’s word? An affirmative answer to this question is still not enough. Thus, we add, Is your life’s practice consistent with your understanding of God’s word?” James said, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Jas 1:25). Let us not only be diligent in learning the Lord’s will, but in doing what He has taught us. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” (Matt 7:24). – By Richard Thetford