A Work In Progress
6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come”
Do you enjoy going to the gym? If so, what is your favorite exercise? Mine was dumbbell chest presses (I have to speak in past tense here because Lord knows I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a hot minute!)
I remember freshman year of college, I was 135 pounds soaking wet – and I HATED it. My roommate and I were both about the same size, so we decided to start lifting weights in an effort to beef up.
Speaking of beefing up, those were the days I could throw back two cheeseburgers, and a plate of french fries – and still feel good about myself.
Ahh the good ol’ days.
After about a year of heavy lifting with my roommate, I came to recognize the greatest difficulty faced by all avid gym goers. That being, the realization that you never truly arrive. In other words, there’s always a muscle group that could use a little more work, or a mile run time that could be shaved just a bit more.
However, despite this frustration, the joy of lifting was never the “arrival” (although hitting personal records was exhilarating), rather it was the chase. It was the unending pursuit of progress, the lifestyle, that was addictive.
In 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul reminds Timothy to train himself in godliness. The implication being that the pursuit is ongoing – a work in progress. The expectation was never to fully arrive at godliness, rather to work towards it.
Much like lifting weights, our overall spiritual endeavor is not to “achieve” godliness as if it’s a bar to reach, rather it is to continue making progress, deepening our relationship with the Lord day-by-day.
This isn’t to say we can’t have spiritual victories – because we can. It simply means we should not place upon ourselves an expectation that cannot be met.
Pursuing godliness as if it were an end point would be fruitless, as our humanity keeps us tethered to the reality that we are fleshly and predisposed to sin. Thus, the goal is to live a Godly life, pursuing not an end state, but the person of Christ, and in doing so, becoming the person we were intended to be.
Godliness, like healthiness, is a lifestyle. It is ongoing and fluctuating. We have our high moments, and our lows, but what matters is that we’re training.
We are all a work in progress, some farther ahead than others – but still a work in progress.
Side note – Being “farther ahead” (as mentioned above) is not an excuse to look down upon those who are still in the infantile stages of their faith. Truth is, if we’re actively looking down upon others, then are we as far ahead as we think we are?
Question: What kind of thing’s do you do on a daily basis to pursue godliness?