“Excuse me. Can you give me some advice for living? I love the Lord and I really would love for that to show. Ultimately, would love for my friends and neighbors who don’t know the Lord to find satisfaction in Him as well.”
If we were playing Jeopardy, that may very well be the question that Paul answers with these words, “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).” Paul here mixes the conservatism of absolute truth with a liberal, selfless love in order to produce a delectable dish; enjoyed by all, for the glory of God. Doctrine and Life. Belief and Behavior.
There has been so much lately on how to live and respond in this post election world. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of articles, blogs, reflections, mandates, and otherwise that have come out recently, but wow! To be sure there are things to analyze, to educate ourselves with, and to reflect on, but sometimes the “old ways” are the best ways. Here the invitation is simply to check what you believe and pay heed to how you will behave. I would submit Paul’s wisdom here as the optimum, post election living plan.
First, fill your heart and mind with doctrine. Engorge yourself on the absolute truths of God’s word. Let your mind be dominated by his holiness, justice, mercy and grace. Be a reflection of Paul’s words to the Colossians that the “word might dwell in you richly. ( Col. 3:16)” It is a mind filled with God’s truth that will help you discern right from wrong in the media. It is a doctrine devoted heart that will season your conversations with more than inflamed rhetoric. It is God’s truth that will ease your anxiety and give you peace.
Second, love liberally. When Paul says to Timothy, “watch your life”, he is saying be who you are in Christ. May the justice, mercy and selfless love that is yours in Him, exude from your very pores. Like Christ, seek out the least of these who are still in their sin. Do not stand in judgment or wait for them to get their stuff together. Let this mind be in you that is yours in Christ Jesus, who being in the very nature God made himself nothing (Phil. 2). He put our needs before his own. He eschewed his own “feelings” in order to secure our future. Living out Christ in us will glorify God, bring us joy, and be attractive to others.
There will be many more articles to be sure, but I dare say there will be none to match this wisdom of Paul’s, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.”