I know of a man in our town who is highly regarded at the church he attends—a model Christian. Yet he can’t keep employees for more than a few months. He is demanding, condescending, rude, and, after a while, employees find the pay isn’t worth the stressful environment. His church persona doesn’t match his life outside the church arena. At some point in his life he quit growing as a Christ follower.
Each of us is growing—hopefully in positive ways. But is our personal development evident to others? Can they see character development, improvements in attitude, and healthier personal and professional relationships in our daily living? Do we model godliness to those around us?
Scripture uses the word “godliness” to refer to godly character and actions that reflect God. In his first letter to his protégé, Timothy, Paul presents four keys to growing in godliness:
- It is your responsibility to train yourself in godly character and actions. No one will do it for you. Godliness is not automatic—it takes a lot of work. Going to church and reading your Bible comprise the classroom part of your training. Homework consists of following the instructions of Scripture in the dailiness of life. “Train yourselves to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7 NIV).
- Exercising godliness is worth far more to you than physical exercise. Godliness has value in your life right now and will continue to be important in eternity future. “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8 NIV).
- Your growth as an individual is to be consistent and obvious to those around you. “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15 NIV).
- Pay attention to your reactions to life situations. Learn to respond biblically. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
Not an easy assignment, but achievable with the coaching of the Holy Spirit.
Looks like I have a lot of homework to do! How about you? Does physical exercise get more attention from you than godly exercise? Are you training yourself to be godly? Is your growth obvious to others? Do they see you responding to everyday situations differently than you did last year? What kind of character are you–a godly one? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis