Following Jesus is more than having correct doctrine about God. Having knowledge of God is not the same thing as having a relationship with Him. A person can know the Bible, but be far away from God.
I don't want to make Bible study seem unimportant. Study is a very essential discipline in the process of spiritual formation. It is crucial that we have an accurate understanding of what the Bible says. Reading and studying the Bible is the main way God guides our lives. Therefore, correct doctrine is very important, and correct doctrine begins with the Bible.
The Apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy; Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:16; ESV).
What we believe about God matters! Remember, it doesn't matter how sincerely we believe something, if that belief is not true, then what we believe is wrong. Our believing something sincerely doesn't make that something true. The Truth that Christians believe must be rooted in Scripture. The Bible reveals to us the truth we need for life. Part of Christianity is about knowing the Truth.
Yet, we know following Jesus is more than just knowing Truth. We have all witnessed people who knew God's Word, but lived as if it wasn't Truth. Truth without appropriate action makes no difference in our lives. Think back to what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:16. He told us that there are two areas of our lives that we need to watch closely: what we believe and how we live.
The problem many church families in the United States are facing are people who have access to the Truth, but choose to ignore that truth so they can do their own thing. These people claim Christ, but they pick and choose what they want to believe so they can live life on their own terms. They are neither watching their doctrine or their lives closely.
This damages the witness of the Church because the World looks at “Christians” and see them living like everyone else. The World doesn't see the love, the gentleness, the peace, the hope, the forgiveness, or the self-control that should be visible in the life of Christians. Instead the World sees hypocrisy, jealousy, bitterness, hatred, greed, and the list could go on and on. In the end the World looks at the Church and sees a reflection of itself.
The way people discover the relevance of Christianity in their lives is to see it lived out in the lives of Christians.
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it (1 Peter 3:15; NLT).
Peter reminds us that people are watching the way we live. By the way we live we reveal the truth and relevance of Christianity to life.
Christ Jesus told His followers to be salt and light in this world. These two elements make their presence known and they produce change. The way we make an impact, like salt or light, is by knowing truth and living right. The two go together.