Spiritual Disciplines – 1/24

4 Jan

Spiritual Disciplines…

Grandfather would always point me in the right direction when I came to him with a problem. Being the Spiritual Leader of the Tribe he talked often about how easy is was to be tricked into believing what Satan was putting in front of me. He taught me spiritual disciplines and the Bible and showed me how to lead my life according to God’s will.

Spiritual disciplines are habits, practices, and experiences that are designed to develop, grow, and strengthen certain qualities of spirit — to build the “muscles” of one’s character and expand the breadth of one’s inner life.

This weeks lesson is about spiritual disciplines and concentrates on chapter 4 of 1 Timothy. This particular chapter is of Paul’s letter marks a major transition in the focus of the letter. Here, the primary topic is dangers posed by false teachers and the specific responsibilities of various groups.

Grandfather referred to this chapter as being written in two parts: a description of the false teachers in Ephesus and practical steps for defense against these false teachers.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1-5

Let’s focus on what the Spirit says will happen in the end times. As we wait for the return of Christ, many will fall away from the faith. Some of these people will attempt to enforce false rules as conditions for following God.

One early example of such people, present when Paul wrote these words, was the Gnostics. This group taught that all physical matter was evil, leading them to denounce many foods, as well as marriage.

However, according to Paul, “everything created by God is good” and should not be rejected out-of-hand. Anything used as God intended, and with a thankful spirit, has been sanctified or “set apart” through the Word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 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. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:6-10

Now let’s shift our focus on combatting these false teachers and their teachings. His advice here is extremely practical. For the most part, these directions involve what Timothy needs to accomplish in his own life and teachings.

The goal is to point out these truths to others and discipline himself for godliness. He is especially commanded to set an example for the believers, persist in sound teaching.

So there must be some action or effort on your part to improve your outlook on life. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” Grandfather used that on me many times.

Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be challenging and difficult. There can be much inner resistance. So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Though books can bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.

Grandfather would say take care of this moment! I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.

The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops me from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.

Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. So it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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