Thursday, September 06, 2007

training to be godly

Life is lived from the heart (Proverbs 4). If my heart is in something, it will show; but if it's not, that often shows as well.

What if my heart is into something that isn't right? What if I regard iniquity, or cherish sin in my heart, so that as the psalmist tells us, the Lord will not hear my prayers? Of course when we recognize the sin, then we simply need to confess it as such before God, whether we still cherish that sin in our heart (likely we will) or not. We need to be those who do not excuse sin, and indeed are working on it, through Christ. And I often find that as I do I end up wanting to turn my back on that sin, not that I can't gravitate back towards it again.

A big part of what we're to do here, I believe, is training ourselves (first us, but in a way, each other?) to be godly, as Paul writes to Timothy. I think in these cases we do what Paul mentioned elsewhere: he beat his body black and blue (I take that metaphorically) and made it his slave, so that he would not end up losing out on the prize the Lord wants to give to all of us, his children, in the end.

I take all this to mean that when my heart is wrong, I don't let my body follow suit, and I repent when I do wrong. But training oneself to be godly would include directing our bodies, and hence ourselves and our hearts toward God and his will, setting our minds and our hearts on heavenly things, not on fallen earthly things as Paul tells us in Colossians.

Realize this is training. Does training change one overnight? No. That is why we have to keep at it, day after day, week after week, month after month, even year after year, so that over the long haul we'll really change in ways that please God. In the short haul we'll have moments, seasons and days that seem especially difficult or when we may fail. But we need to hang in there in such training for the long haul.

Obedience attempted from the heart by grace is a big part of this training to be godly, while we keep at the basics of Scripture reading, prayer, and engagement in the community of God in Jesus unto mission. And of course this involves no excuse of any wrong, no matter how justified it may seem to us. Sometimes we need to turn those wrongs into creative endeavors to do God's will in regard to whatever the issue may be.

What thoughts might you have on training to be godly? I'm working on this.

11 comments:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Actually in the Greek, Train yourself to be godly is obviously, even from the English translation, in the singular spoken to Timothy, and by extension, I believe to every person of God in some way. http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/1ti4.pdf

But by example, as we do this, we can help each other do the same. Though I think this must be free, and in the Spirit, not coerced.

Ted M. Gossard said...

here's the link

Craver Vii said...

It is probably expected that when one trains to be godly, it is a private and personal endeavor. But I am blessed to be mentored by one of my elders. He gives me weekly homework, including verse memorization, reading, and a chapter-a-week in a workbook. It's tough, time-consuming, but man, it stretches me more than if I wasn't held accountable to anyone!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Craver, Very good. We certainly need more of that all the way around.

I'm meeting with a younger guy and with a younger guy in faith. It would be good if I met with someone who would more like mentor me, though by e-mail I have some of that going on with one fellow.

Ted M. Gossard said...

One thing I want to add to this, and I was hoping I could do this during comments, but that didn't work out...

...I want to add that the entire body involved in this training is important since that represents the real us. The real you is not inside your body. Your body is one part and aspect of the real you.

So it has to be trained as well, what our eyes see, ears hear, mouth speaks, feet go, etc., etc.

When I was learning guitar it was a body thing. My body, ears, hands, etc., had to get acclimated to playing chords, rhythm, going back and forth from one chord to another, etc.

One thing I've noticed that by careful control of my body there can be "life and peace". But to give into some aspect of it there comes darkness and unrest.

Just one important aspect of our holiness in the Lord, I believe.

NaNcY said...

well, if i am in training to be Godly...then the Holy Spirit must be my coach.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, True. And often the Holy Spirit is our coach through another sister or brother, through circumstances, and always with reference to God's word, as well as directly to us.

Thanks for bringing the Holy Spirit into this discussion.

NaNcY said...

i think we all learn best in humbleness no matter where the Holy Spirit is comming from or through. just a thought with me this morning...not refering to anyone not being humble.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, I appreciate your thought on humility. That's a large part of what it's all about, what the Lord, who himself said that he is meek and humble or lowly in heart- what he is working to teach us and work in us more and more.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted,

Your post reminded me of what I read in Titus yesterday. I think in Chapter 2

"The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions..."

When I read it, I thought - the grace of God trains us? How odd?

But it does, the unmerited favor and compassion of God not only saves us but also trains us to renounce the world...because we learn how much better it is to know and enjoy Him forever.

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI, Yes, it's all grace in our lives as far as any going on with the Lord or godliness, as well as all that goes into that.

The pain comes because of us, and the change we must undergo.