“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them…”
1 Timothy 4:16, NIV.
You are being watched! No, it is not an online predator or a hidden camera. You are being watched by the people who have access to your world every day. Sometimes, it is the most casual of acquaintances where you and I have the greatest impact but are often encounters registering little if any significance.
Most of us will never stand on a stage before hundreds of people. Most of us will never run for a political office. However, all of us touch the lives of others whether we do it deliberately or naturally in our going and coming each day. Maybe your reach is as far as a diaper change. Perhaps you will help navigate the way to finding a cure for a disease. For the majority, our realm of influence probably falls somewhere in between these two extremes. Wherever you find yourself, know that your life matters and matters greatly. The question is, how do you want others to “read,” and remember you?
The Scripture passage leading into this writing was written by the apostle, Paul, to his young protégé, Timothy. It would be fair to say that Paul was drawing down deep into his life experiences to impart such wisdom. Before his encounter with Jesus, Paul was a renown zealot who hated Christians. He persecuted and killed many who professed to be followers of Christ. It wasn’t until he met Jesus that his whole purpose for living was completely and one hundred and eighty degrees turned from persecuting to proselyting. Through his many writings in the New Testament in The Bible, Paul’s influence and impact on the world has stretched across the centuries.
How do you want others to see you and how do you want to be remembered when you are no longer living? “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” What is the doctrine or belief by which you want to be defined? Does what you profess line up with the way you live? As a Christian, I find this instruction to be challenging. You see, my humanity is always getting in the way. With so many failures, I am often tempted to give up. But, Paul knew all too well about the human condition, so his next instruction is even more profound than the first. “Persevere in them.”
Jesus came to the earth to show us what perfection looked like but He never expected us to reach what God reserves for Him alone. What God does expect of you and me, however, is to look to Jesus as our target when living out what we profess we believe. We cannot give up or simply not even try just because we see the goal as impossible. Every year, the world’s best athletes come together to compete in the Olympics, and every year, many previous records are broken. It happens when competitors do not give up! What is the ultimate achievement? To be the best we can, at least for today.
You and I may not receive a gold medal, but I would contend we receive something much better when at the end of “the games,” we hear our Father in heaven say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Come and share in your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21, NIV.
Father, give me strength for this day to reach higher than I think is possible and hope for tomorrow, the same. AMEN.