Watching, Perceiving, Abstaining & Frank Sinatra
The same passage of Scripture (1 Tim 4) that begins with these words: “in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons”, ends, 16 verses later with these: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” In between is talk of things which are permitted, encouraged, taught, preached, lived, and forbidden.
But what are we to make of these words “Watch your life … closely”? Given the dramatic start of this passage, I have a suspicion that these closing words are of utmost importance. With that in mind, I ask myself, “what do they mean to me?”
Recently – as many times before – I was browsing the Facebook pages of my friends, and I saw some photos of folks whom I know to be followers – even disciples – of Christ, photographing and displaying actions and behaviors, that for some among us, would be considered – at best, questionable – and at worst, sin (or at least “self-serving”).
I am NOT the perfect human – but I am humbled that perfection, in the person of Jesus Christ, does indeed live in me! I am not perfect, but am called to be holy, as He is holy. I am not perfect, but I am called to be certain that any liberties that I might perceive myself to have, are not a stumbling block to my brother or sister, or a reproach, to the watching world.
Among the fruits of repentance is ‘self-denial’ for the sake of others, rather than ‘self-serving’ actions for my own pleasure. I might foolishly say: “I can’t help what others think of me – that’s their problem.” That may be true, however, I can control the image they are given, from which they formulate their thoughts towards me. Their perceptions will be, what they will be – yet, I can bear the fruits of repentance, by showing concern and forethought in my actions and behaviors that might aid them in making wrong perceptions. 1 Thess 5:22 comes to mind here: “Abstain from all appearances of evil.”
Sure, we can we debate alcohol, tobacco, tattoos, immodesty, cussing, and the like, until Jesus Himself returns. But the questions we must ask ourselves – in light of the Life that lives in us – is this: “Am I exercising my perceived rights to self-serving pleasures, or am I going to elevate myself to self-denial, in the name of ‘bearing fruits of repentance’ for the sake of my weaker brothers and sisters, and the Lord’s testimony to a watching world? Simply put… am I going to obey the admonishment of 1 Tim 4:16 and “Watch [my] life … closely. [that I might] save both [my]self and my hearers” and watchers? Or will I enter eternity rejecting the fruits of repentance, while singing that old nightclub *hymn*: “I did it my way”?
Posted on November 18, 2014, in Bible, Carnality/Flesh/Worldliness, Discipleship, Faith, Grace, Holiness, Jesus Christ, Regeneration/Conversion, Repentance and tagged holiness. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.