September 29, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 29 September 2015
Have you ever known someone who was intrigued with extreme health plans, like eating eucalyptus bark in the vicinity of a Himalayan monastery? God’s people sometimes get ensnared in a similar approach in the pursuit of authentic spirituality, becoming involved in things that are too esoteric to have genuine value. First Timothy 4:6-16 reveal how to "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." To summary these verses with contemporary terminology, we could regard this section of Scripture as a 5-part spiritual fitness program.
I. Exercise Ambitiously (1 Tim 4:6-10)
What a believer needs is a proper emphasis upon godly living: “discipline [exercise] yourself for the purpose of godliness” (which is living in such a manner that our lives are a reflection of God’s character). We live in a society that is preoccupied with physical fitness and beauty. Therefore, it is all too easy for believers to become enamored with exercise regimens that have limited value and thus become distracted from the pursuit of godliness.
The active pursuit of godliness profits a believer both now and for eternity. How do we pursue godliness? According to verse 7, we must “exercise” if we are to achieve it. The word “exercise” in the Greek is gumnaze, from which we derive the words “gymnastics” and “gymnasium.” The word includes the idea of rigorous training intended to improve a person’s skill or fitness. As it applies to the pursuit of godliness, a person must exercise with the commitment of an athlete in the pursuit of godliness.
II. Live Consistently (vv. 11-12)
A consistent walk with the Lord makes a believer spiritually healthy. Scripture suggests that a believer can establish credibility by being “an example . . . in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” One does not demand respect; rather, it is earned by godly living.
III. Diet Faithfully (v. 13)
A healthy believer focuses upon the Word of God, and is not distracted by less significant matters. Reading the Bible aloud is important, and has always been a regular habit of God’s people. "Exhortation" is understanding the Bible’s relevance. The word for “teaching” suggests systematic teaching of biblical principles, for the purpose of developing a strong skeletal system of truth, which will anchor one’s faith and provide a discerning ear to protect from error.
IV. Serve Actively (vv. 14-15)
A healthy believer is an active participant as a member of the body of Christ, not just a passive spectator. Regard it as imperative to know the eternal contribution that God intends for you to make. Commit yourself to the diligent use of the resources that God has assigned to you.
V. Evaluate Carefully (v. 16)
A person who is engaged in a disciplined physical fitness regimen will naturally monitor his or her own progress. Similarly, a believer should monitor his or her spiritual fitness. In your personal evaluation, daily ask yourself whether (1) you are strengthening your walk with the Lord, (2) pursuing spiritual growth, (3) maintaining doctrinal integrity, and (4) you are influencing others to become devoted worshippers of God, in Christ Jesus.
You will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (v. 16). We have a responsibility to pursue spiritual growth! God will bring the results.
Missionary Pastor to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia