Spiritual Growth, My Choice!

      We are now into the New Year. I wonder how many of us have acted upon our “New Year Resolutions?” I wonder how many of us may have already “fallen off the wagon?” Yes, I know there are those of us who do not care or have given up on resolutions. Let me share some insights from the Lord that might encourage you to invest in your spiritual growth in 2024.

      If you are like me, there are many responsibilities and desires in your life that are demanding our time, talents, treasures and attention. This means, when we think of our spiritual development, does it even make the list of priorities in life? Paul put it this way, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 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)  His instruction to his protégé Pastor Timothy are just as applicable to us. You may not go down the rabbit hole of irrelevant doctrinal distractions, but you may get sucked into other just as worthless pursuits like watching cat videos on social media. There are many different rabbit holes waiting to suck you in as there are people in the world. Now let’s be honest with ourselves, those distractions, for the most part are a waste of time. The follower of Jesus is encouraged to make the best use of our time for the days are evil.

     The challenge is to “train yourself for godliness.” It is popular at this time of the year for gym memberships to increase. Paul is using the same terminology applied to our spiritual development. The word for “train” is speaking about discipline. It is an admonition to develop our behavior by instruction and practice. Just like the unused exercise equipment, God’s numerous resources to assist you sit collecting dust. The reflexive pronoun “yourself” put you and I in the driver’s seat. This means we must determine to make our spiritual development a priority.

     Most of the time we lose interest when we fail to see the benefit. Your spiritual development, unlike physical training, will impact every area of your life and your relationship now, but also will contribute to eternal rewards in heaven. “Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Jesus stated is this way, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matthew 6:20a)

      I believe that most of us already know what we need to do. But for those desiring to develop in Godly character let me encourage to make a commitment to attend a Bible teaching church each weekend. Second, start reading your Bible each day. There are many Bible reading plans, find and choose one. We are currently promoting reading through the New Testament in 30 days.

     The key to any training regimen is to start small and develop your consistency over time. You will miss days, but don’t quit! Just pick up from where you left off and keep going. It once took me several years to complete an intense one year reading plan. Keep the focus on the goal, your spiritual development. The Lord will never give up on you, so do not give up on yourself. You must do this!

-Pastor Joe Parkinson

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