PAUL brought Timothy into the ministry, and as his father in the faith, wrote him instructions on how to do his best for his own life and the people's lives in his church. In I Timothy 4:16 Paul said, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." Paul wanted Timothy to know his life and doctrine were closely tied together. In other words, we live by our beliefs (doctrine).
THE reason Paul was telling Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely was because of what he warned him about in I Timothy 4:1-2, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." In the last days, people will abandon their doctrine (Biblical belief's) to follow deceptive teachings.
A strong case could be made that Paul was writing about this day and age.
EVEN people who do not believe in God have seen a cultural shift in our society. Common courtesy, decency and respect are gone, replaced by accusations, offenses and cancelling. People are just plain mean and nasty in these days (boy I sound old). And the moorings of our faith - The Bible, church and family values, are viewed upon as outdated and pointless. Let's face it, many have abandoned their faith in the Lord to follow deceiving spirits who are hypocritical liars.
PAUL gives Timothy one other piece of advice in I Timothy 6:10-13, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus..." The love of self, the love of comfort and the love of money has shipwrecked the faith of many today.
HOW do we stay strong in our faith and stand firm in our convictions, which is an unpopular stance? Paul said to flee from this kind of teaching. Sounds great. How do I flee the thoughts and ways of this world? By pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. It only stands to reason that if you pursue in one direction then you are fleeing from another. The pursuit of goodness and God naturally takes care of what we are to flee.
THE second thing we need to do is Fight the good fight - and it is a fight all right. The good fight is what we are in pursuit of - a direction and "way" that many today will oppose. This is why it is a fight - there is opposition. We are also to take hold of the eternal life we obtained by our confession of Christ. I believe what Paul said is similar to what John wrote to the church at Ephesus about forsaking their first love. He said in Revelation 3:5, "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." Three crucial things are mentioned by John: remember; repent and re-do. In doing so, we maintain our love for Jesus and watch our life and doctrine closely.