In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. Allan McKechnie andI have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians. One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ. This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION. The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”
I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ. Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.
I Timothy 4 says,
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)
The SECOND STEP we notice is: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)
The THIRD STEP we see is: INVEST IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT (v. 8)
Verse 8 issues the challenge “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” When I was a teenager, my best friend Ronnie decided to become a body builder. His parents were strong believers, and, as I recall, would sometimes quote to him this verse (but from the King James version). His dad would say, “You know, Ronnie, the Bible says ‘bodily exercise profiteth little . . .” My friend’s dad was actually misquoting the verse, because he left out the little world “a” (“bodily exercise profiteth a little . . .”). The text is really saying, there is some profit in physical exercise, but Timothy should give his primary attention to training himself to be godly.
My wife of 41 years has really gotten into physical exercise over the last year. At the ripe age of ___ (you didn’t really think I was going to tell you, did you?), she “spins” four or five days a week. Spinning is riding a stationary bike going nowhere. Her spinning class meets from 6-7 AM! I admire her for her commitment to this exercise group. But — and here’s my point — she gets up at 4:30 AM to have her quiet time with the Lord every day before she gets on that bike to nowhere. That’s a commitment to something that will outlast this world!
1. What kind of physical exercise are you involved in?
2. What kind of spiritual exercises are you practicing — and how have they helped you in daily life?