1 Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Doctrine is a word that we don’t use very often these days. We tend to associate it with the word ‘dogmatic’ and so it has some negative connotations for a society full of free-spirited people. The New Testament Greek word for doctrine is didaskalia which means teaching and learning. It’s not meant to be a negative word – it’s supposed to positively encourage us to learn more about God through the life, ministry and works of Christ.
I’ve been a pastor for over twenty years and throughout that time, I’ve watched society sadly reject Christian doctrine, only to replace it with individual ideas and personal opinions. People who hardly read the Bible make up their own ideas about God. Even church people, who do nothing to grow spiritually, carry around quaint and quixotic superstitions in their hearts and heads. They think that their own ideas are going to save them; they erroneously believe that God will accommodate their self-made teaching and personal doctrine.
The scriptures were given to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that we might not depart from the truth. And the proper teaching of this truth relies upon our devotion to Christ and a proper understanding of the scriptures. If we make up our own beliefs, then we have no salvation. God will not set aside His Son in order to accommodate us. That would exalt us and diminish Christ. We would be in danger of making ourselves our own gods first, and then placing Christ at the bottom of the pile.
So, perhaps we all need to really reflect upon what we actually believe. And then we should ask ourselves this tough question: are my beliefs based upon Christian doctrine, or are they something that I have made up to accommodate my personal feelings instead of the Christian faith?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to understand how important doctrine is for our salvation. Teach us Your ways and enable us to learn what is sacred, holy and true to You. Give us the courage to set aside our own ways, in order to let the Holy Spirit fill our hearts and minds with Your ways. In Your Holy name, we pray. Amen.