Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.There is much I can learn in the way of "spiritual disciplines". There are many wonderful practices Christians have done over the centuries, to help them draw near to God, such as lectio divina. Growing up and remaining a part of "low church" traditions, has not lended itself to me, for growing, or even going into this area, intentionally. And though I'm beginning to see the value of them now, I still am hardly a novice in it.
I tie "spiritual disciplines" into the passage from 1 Timothy as one part of how we, in Jesus, can train ourselves to be godly. The best I do is reading Scripture- speaking or reading it out loud, even if just in my mind, at least twice daily, and in a prayerful way (when I do it best). And to pray afterwards, more than just a few words, at my very best in doing it.
When I do it, it can seem at times, somewhat "mechanical" or something I'm just doing. My mind can wander. But I don't let those elements discourage me from continuing in it, and keeping at it regularly. Because at the heart of such practice, is the desire to come close to God. To meet God. To be helped by God. To interact with God.
Training ourselves to be godly goes on during the day. What if I'm trying to discipline my intake of food, so I can lose weight. And everytime I see a doughnut, I go for it. Of course I'm defeating my purpose, and will never reach my goal to lose weight. This is indulging.
We can carry that over to our lives in thinking about becoming godly. Where is my thought life? Am I endulging in thoughts and actions, even if they're "little", that compromise training? I'm talking here about sin issues. If so, then I need to take stock (which we should, regularly, anyhow), and bring this before God in confession, and seek to live in his grace given to us in Christ.
The most important aspect of training is to remember why we are doing it. This training is never an end in itself. That in itself would be a sin. No. It's solely to come near to God. It includes saying no to certain things, as we say yes, to Jesus, in the salvation and the way he has set before us, to live in and follow.
And at its heart is the love of God. To live in that love. And in doing so, to love God with all our being and doing. And to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Jesus Creed.
What thoughts come to your mind about this? Or experience you would like to share with us?