Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:16 NIV
Paul’s instruction here is to Timothy, a young man he had left in Ephesus, to lead the church there. It was a challenging task, and here Paul is seeking to encourage Timothy to be faithful to the task and set an example to that church. It might be easy to assume that what Paul is telling Timothy here is only really applicable to preachers or teachers. But I do not believe that is the case.
While not all of us have the influence of a preacher or teacher, all of us do need to guard our lives and what we believe closely. Live upright and morally pure lives that will honor our Lord. Be careful not to fall into moral compromise, either intentionally or through neglect.
Be careful about what you accept as true. It is important to base our beliefs on the Bible itself rather than what sounds or feels good. Other sources, and people, may sound reasonable and appealing. But always compare what they have to say against the authoritative source of Scripture.
Never grow weary of seeking to live a holy life that is faithfully based on God’s word. Watch your life and doctrine. Persevere in them. In doing so, Paul says, you will save both yourself and your hearers. We often do not recognize the influence we have on other people. Others may well be encouraged to faithfulness by what they see in us. Live a life that you would not be ashamed of or feel bad about having someone else copy.