God loves to see us progress in our faith. And that’s what Paul tells his young protege Timothy. As you grow, he says to Timothy, let everyone notice your progress.
Diligence and vigilance are the key ideals Paul employs when he urges Timothy to make progress in his faith. Once we become believers, it can be easy to coast. We can be lulled into being satisfied with the minimum. And we can drop our guard — forgetting that the devil is out there prowling around like a roaring lion.
For Timothy, as a leader in the church, diligence and vigilance were doubly important. Because he was setting an example for others. As he “gave himself wholly” to his ministry and to his own faith, his followers would take note. As he kept a close eye on his way of life and his doctrine, he would help not just himself, but also his hearers.
Notice here, that Paul mentions both doctrine and life. Not doctrine or life. Doctrine and life. Both are critical for Timothy to have a healthy life of faith that sets the tone for those whom he is teaching.
This is good for us to remember too. When we are diligent about our faith, when we watch to see that our teaching conforms to the Bible, when we live according to God’s commandments, we show our progress and we help others make progress as well. And when we persevere and keep on doing this, people notice our habits.
Lots of “ands” here. Diligence and vigilance. Doctrine and life. Perseverance in these helps us make progress in our faith. And it helps others make progress in their faith, too.
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:15-16, NIV).
Lord, help me to stay diligent and vigilant. I know that it is impossible for me to do this on my own. So strengthen me to keep close watch on both my doctrine and my life, so that I may progress in my faith, and help others progress in their faith as well.
Our Bible reading for Monday, October 19, is Jeremiah 40:7 – 42:22, 1 Timothy 4:1-16 and Proverbs 25:11-20.
Header image based on "KEEP ON THE WATCH" by whologwhy, CC By 2.0