For many Christians, doctrine is completely separate from Christian living. They see Christian living as the heart of their Christianity and doctrinal understanding as something that is optional.
The reality is that doctrine is at the root of behaviour. We behave the way we do because of what we believe.
That behaviour is rooted in doctrine is clearly seen in Rev 2. In verse 6 God says,
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Later in the chapter, God says,
Rev. 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Rev. 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Rev. 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
God ties behaviour to doctrine. Doctrine establishes a perspective and perspective leads to opinions on what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour. Being careless in doctrine inevitably leads to being careless in conduct. This is why we are warned to be careful about our doctrine:
1Tim. 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
If taking heed unto our doctrine and continuing in them leads to salvation for ourselves and those who hear us, surely the opposite is true: being careless in doctrine leads to spiritual ruin.
We must not think doctrine and Christian living are two separate subjects. That is a subtle and clever deception from Satan. We must realize that doctrine and godly living are inextricably linked.
1Tim. 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
1Tim. 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
1Tim. 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
Let’s hunger and thirst for righteousness by taking heed to our doctrine and honouring those pastors who labour to teach us the faithful word.
1Tim. 5:17 ¶ Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.