In his letter to Timothy, Paul, his mentor, instructs him to train himself for godliness. Godliness is characterized by two things: our attitude and our actions. We must have an attitude of reverence and respect for God, what the Bible refers to as the “fear of God.” Second, our actions must be pleasing to Him. Much like a runner prepares for a race or a musician practices for a performance, leaders must train themselves for spiritual growth.
“Train yourself to be godly… Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:7-16)
Training for Spiritual Growth
Your spiritual life is like caring for a plant. If you neglect it, you will shrivel up, not bear fruit and eventually die. Just as a plant needs good soil, water and sunlight to grow, your spiritual life needs resources in order to grow. We grow through reading God’s word, praying and listening to God, and worshiping God in everything that we say and do. Let’s take a look at what Paul’s tells Timothy about his spiritual growth.
A Good Servant of Jesus (1 Timothy 4:6-16)
6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 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. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1. Spiritual Growth is my RESPONSIBILITY. (v7)
2. Spiritual training is worth the INVESTMENT of my time, both now and for eternity. (v8)
3. As you lead a small group, flow in your GIFTING and allow others to compliment your gifting. (v14)
4. As I fully engage in my spiritual training, I must commit to being TRANSPARENT with those in my small group so they can see my spiritual growth and progress. (v15)
5. Keeping a close eye on my LIFE and TEACHING over the long haul will save my life and those that I shepherd. (v16)