for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way,
as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
~ 1 timothy 4:7-8
Two weekends ago I went home for the first time in almost 4 months since moving to Dallas, to watch two dear friends get married. While home, though I had the same conversation over and over with friends and family; that basically went like this:
Someone: “Nick, you have lost weight, what are you doing?”
Me: “Diet and exercise.”
It got to where it was comical to me, because the response to me saying I had lost weight to diet and exercise was almost one of disappointment, like people were hoping that I had moved to Dallas and found some special formula that didn’t require diet and exercise (I’m sure the reading load in seminary has helped too). Cause although deep inside we really know that the secret to weight loss and getting in shape is diet and exercise, we all want that easy fix. Diet and exercise take discipline, effort and is difficult; please give us a special pill, or some 6 minute abs belt that we can wear while in bed eating, and we will try it.
Just make it easy…
Now this isn’t a post on health and fitness, but I have been chewing on this, because is this not a picture of our spiritual lives? We are called to be Holy (1 Peter 1:16), we are told to pursue Godliness, righteousness, and faith (1 Timothy 6:11). To often we try to achieve this the easy way, like attending church once or twice a week will help us get to where we are supposed to be. Or we just wait for the Lord to sanctify us, and claim “we will be Holy, one day, when we are with Him;” Yes, ultimately this is true, but that does not take away the command to train ourselves for Godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). If we were to go to our heroes of the Faith, and ask them how did you get so Godly? When they told us, would our response be, “oh…” wishing the answer was simpler?
All of this started to connect last week as I was preparing for my home group bible study where we were focusing on the passage in James 4:7-10:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
As I was reading this passage, I noticed all the “action” words that pertain to us, that we are to do: submit, resist, draw near, cleanse, purify, and humble, all words that pertain to us getting near to God.
We cannot pursue Godliness apart from actively pursuing Him. Yes it takes discipline, effort and is difficult sometimes, but what else is there to go towards?