Tuesday, April 9, 2013

training in godliness

Good morning brothers and sisters,
We get a cool glimpse into the early church in Paul's letters, and a unique perspective in the two letters to Timothy. Timothy was a young leader in the church, whom Paul took under his wing. He thought of Timothy as a spiritual son, and the intimacy of their connection comes across clearly. As a young pastor, these letters have been a special source of encouragement to me.

The two things I especially want to lift up in today's reading are Paul's idea of training in godliness and the importance of public reading of scripture. Often we treat church as an event, as an important part of our week that gives us strength, but we don't always think of it as training. Spiritual life isn't something that just happens, and it's not a static situation. Like school or athletes training for competition, we should approach our faith life expecting to make progress, expecting to work hard to get better at faithfulness. An important part of that training is scripture reading, both publicly and on our own.

God bless you in your training today,

1 Timothy 4:6-16
6If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. 10For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11These are the things you must insist on and teach.

12Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. 14Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. 16Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

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