Having Active Faith
Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 4:6-16
Living in the south, there is an excitement in the air this time of year. Football season is kicking off, and everyone is looking forward to tailgate parties and get-togethers with family and friends. Throughout history, sports and athletic competitions have been loved by people. In ancient Rome, the people enjoyed taking in gladiator fights and other events at the Coliseum. Today, we just need to see the overhead view of sporting events to see how many people are willing to pile into a stadium and cheer on their favorite team. Most everyone has a sport they enjoy, and I believe this is why Paul fills his letters with sports analogies. He knows that people will understand the metaphor, and easily apply it. This passage in 1 Timothy 4 is no different.
“Rather train yourself for godliness.” Paul understands that training the body is useful for health, strength and performance, but godly training benefits you in this life and the next. I love the words Paul uses throughout this passage about training in godliness. Take note of these phrases: “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God”; “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”; “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching”; “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.”
Would you describe your faith in Jesus Christ using these phrases? Do you toil and strive to be godly? Do you live to set an example for other believers in how to live a godly life? Have you devoted yourself to reading and studying God’s Word, prayer, and fasting? Do you practice righteousness, having fully immersed yourself in Jesus?
How we answer these questions matters. Faith in Jesus is not something that is passive and inactive. Faith is the exact opposite; it is active and an all-consuming fire! Our belief in God should consume our every thought and being. We have been born again into a new life that is filled with hope, joy, peace, love, mercy and grace. The Holy Spirit of God has come to live inside of our hearts, which means that we are forever changed. In light of these great gospel promises, how have you responded? Have you fully surrendered to the gospel? Are you sold out for the cause of Christ, or are you still holding on to the things of this world? We would be wise to remember the words of our Savior in Mark 8:35-36 “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
Call to Action: We all should be training in godliness. Faith is something that is living and active, so that means we are working to grow in godly, holy character. How can we do this? Set up a daily time to pray. Take time to sit and be in God’s presence. Also, read the Bible, and apply what it teaches. Not sure where to start? Begin in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. No time for reading? Use your smartphone to download the Bible app and read on your lunch breaks. Make no excuses, and leave no stone unturned. To be a godly man or woman requires training and discipline. Do not wait or waste any more time. Devote yourselves to Christ, and immerse yourself in Him.