“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. 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. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 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.
“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 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 Timothy 4:6-16a
Paul encourages Timothy with the rhythm of a train: clack-a-chug clack-a-chug down the track, train and serve, toil and strive, command and teach, devote and watch, practice and persist. A good servant never lets up, can’t let up, won’t let up, always presses on, with hope set on the living God. (Philippians 3:13-14)
This rhythm takes commitment and perseverance, which the Spirit supplies as we turn our desires and days over to Him. Silly myths will not go away, nor will temptations to spiritual sloth and embracing false doctrine. Since the competition for our fidelity is constant and ruthless, it is vital that we keep being trained, and train, in truth and good doctrine, that we continually are taught, and teach, the Scriptures. Constant familiarity with and practice of the Word make for right handling, and persistence, and progress. (2 Timothy 2:15)
We cling to the Vine, and through Christ we bear much fruit. We submit to His discipline, He brings about holiness. We get in step with the Spirit, He keeps us from yielding to and gratifying the flesh. We commit to the gospel, He guards us from fear and makes bold our words. But we cannot let up or give up. We cannot give in to excuses or give over our attention to the myriad of pulls and forces vying for it. (John 15:5; Romans 1:16; Galatians 5:16-17,25; Ephesians 6:18-20; Hebrews 12:1-13)
Have we grown stale on things of God? Complacent about genuine consecration? Flabby in faith and study? Do we spend the same zeal and energy in spiritual exercise that we do in physical, or vocational, or social? Do we believe that training in godliness is of premium importance for this life and next? If so, what evidence is there of such devotion in our routines?
Good Father, may I never let up pursuing You. Make me bold to teach and humble to be taught, consistently training in and practicing Your holy word. Keep my hope set on You, and my aim on seeing others set their hope in You too.