Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Exercise yourself towards godliness

This past year has been one of tremendous growth for me. At times I have felt so beaten down, so humbled by the realization of who I am before the Lord, but graciously the Lord has continued His work and watered the garden of my life. I am so thankful that I'm not the person I was last January 2006. There have been some painful moments, but it has been so worth it! The hope that the God of the universe might use me in some small way to bring Him glory is astounding! But I know from His Word that this is His desire.

One of the most amazing things to me has been the way the Lord has used people, circumstances, books, messages, emails, conversations, and my time in the Word with Him alone, to stir my heart towards godliness. It has been as if He were pursuing me, bombarding me from every direction, compelling me to live for Him.

Not that I wasn't living for Him before. Just in a deeper, more intimate way.

"If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:6-8

What do you want from this life? Isn't that a good question? Do you want to be godly? I know I do. Even though my flesh struggles with these things, I want to be godly more than I want material wealth, security, the perfect marriage, children who turn out well, friends, you name it. It is the deepest desire of my soul, to know Him more and to be more like Him.

Well, over the last several months, we have been going through a series of messages at church about 4 spiritual disciplines in the Christian life:
  • Prayer
  • Time in the Word
  • Service
  • Evangelism
And this week Scott summed it all up with these points:
  1. Godliness is God's work - Isn't this good to remember?! He who began a good work, WILL complete it! We are responsible to strive towards godliness, to discipline ourselves, to give up other things that we might have more of a taste for Him, and yet the work is really His!
    "To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." Colossians 1:29
  2. Laziness never leads to godliness - The book of Mark is filled with the word "immediately" because the Lord Jesus did not rest much. His life was full, but never frantic. There were nights of no sleep because He was up all night praying. Would I be willing to stay up all night to pray if the Lord asked me to? How far am I willing to push myself?
    "Do not neglect the gift that is in you...meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all." 1 Timothy 4:14,15

  3. Take inventory of your spiritual closet - What must go in order to be godly? What must I die to to bear much fruit? What is wasting God's time in my life? Are there going to be things that are burnt up at the Judgement Seat of Christ? Why?!!!
  4. You need fellowship or accountability - Spend time with others who are purposing to live this way too, and make sure that YOU are encouraging those around to change for God's glory.
    "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray." Proverbs 12:26
  5. Expect struggle (on the way to success) - This is why so many New Year's resolutions don't work, because once we fail, we quit! But remember, it's not up to me, it's up to God unless I stand in the way.
  6. Application - Am I willing to discipline myself in these 4 areas (prayer, time in the Word, service and evangelism) so that I might be more godly?


The Daniel Den said...

I love how it speaks of a full life but never frantic..... some things are life changing. this was one of them for me. Always good to serve and have a full life with the Lord as our strentgh but it is vital to have it not be frantic and overwhelmed regardless of what happens.....
Thanks for the encouragement.

bandanachick said...

Thanks for your was an encouragement to me. It is such an great example to me to see how you've grown recently. Love you.

Jenica said...

That "frantic" part hit me, too. "Full" sounds much nicer. Some of the franticness in my life may be of my own doing and adding things that are unnecessary. If we evaluate what's the most important in God's eyes and cut out the rest, that would be full living.

It's amazing to think what God wants to do for us. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Rom. 8:32

Thanks Rachel.

HopiQ said...

I need this!!! Thank you so much for sharing. The Lord is patiently teaching me. Especially about prayer these last few months.

Today I got in that frantic mode. Again. :(