Were you very good at drawing within the lines? I wasn’t. It not that I was trying to be a rebel; I just had too heavy of a hand on my crayon. I know it is hip today to draw outside the lines because it supposedly expresses creativity. That can get us into trouble in other areas. When we stray outside the lines of doctrine, it gets us in trouble. Paul tells Timothy to follow the pattern.
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
As the Apostle Paul begins his final letter, he gives some sound advice to his protege, Timothy. He tells him to follow the pattern of sound words he has heard and guard the good deposit the Holy Spirit has installed in him. To follow the sounds words means to stick to the teachings in which he was taught. Timothy followed Paul around for years, and Paul is telling him to follow his example. All of that good teaching needed to be guarded against unsound doctrine.
As believers, we need to be loyal to God’s Word. We need to read it, commit it to memory, and store it up in our hearts, so when some false doctrine is floated our way, we instantly know it is wrong based on the reservoir of truth we have inside of us. We measure everything based on what God’s Word says. Then we know that God works everything for good but that He doesn’t help those who help themselves.
Follow the Pattern
Too many Christians are still drinking the milk of the Word and not eating the meat. Just like with babies, milk nourishes at first, but meat leads to maturity. It’s the deep stuff of Scripture that helps us to discern if something is a false doctrine. It also helps us articulate what we believe to new believers and skeptics alike. Fill your heart with God’s Word and then guard it with all you got.