Your faith is a gift from God. The condition it's in depends on how well you're exercising it.
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1 Timothy 4 (ESV)
1 Now the Spirit expressly says
that in later times
some will depart
from the faith
by devoting themselves
to deceitful spirits
and teachings of demons,
2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
3 who forbid marriage
and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
6 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.
7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.
Rather train yourself for godliness;
8 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.
9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.
10 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.
11 Command and teach these things.
12 Let no one despise you for your youth,
but set the believers an example
13 Until I come, devote yourself to
the public reading of Scripture,
14 Do not neglect the gift you have,
which was given you by prophecy
when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Practice these things,
immerse yourself in them,
so that all may see your progress.
16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.
Persist in this, for by so doing you will save
and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4 Summary
The last two chapters have been about order in the church, specifically the need for godly men to fill the roles of elder and deacon. In today's chapter we find out why having this order established is so critical.
The church always has been, and always will be (until Christ returns), under attack from deceiving spirits and teachings from hypocritical liars. There are seasons like what we're in now, where those who wish the church harm are bold and easy to spot, and there are other times where the attacks are more subtle.
Rather than gorge on religious junk food (godless myths and old wives' tales), you are to:
Train yourself to be Godly.
This is one of the most important commands in the Bible. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most ignored.
We tend to get so wrapped up in the busyness of life (which, as Paul points out in v8, has some value) that we have no time or energy left to invest in things that hold promise both now and in the life to come.
Like physical training, there are no 'get fit quick' plans that can help you 'become spiritually disciplined in three easy steps.'
Doing this is hard work, something we are to "labor and strive" towards.
As a reminder, there are three key disciplines that you must be practicing:
Reading the Bible,
and participating regularly in gathered worship.
Doing these things at a minimum will naturally lead you into many other disciplines.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God, who created all things good (v4) and who provides for all people (v10)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to give you the endurance to train yourself for Godliness (v7)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: