Are You Spiritually Fit?

godlinessCan you be described as a Godly person?

I can’t imagine any believer not wanting to be described as Godly.

Recently, I’ve been exploring and studying Godliness. Two authors who have helped me are John Kincaid and Jerry Bridges. Jerry Bridges’ book emphasizes practicing Godliness. This only makes sense. After all, every gift has to be practiced extensively. For example, which professional golfer would not practice and develop his or her gift?

Spiritual practices work the same way. I am thankful for having been given gifts with which to do ministry, but I have learned they must be developed and practiced. In the same way we develop all our gifts and the spiritual qualities God wants in our lives.

God’s Word tells us to train in Godliness. “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness (Godliness). Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next” (1 Timothy 4:7-8, NLT).

One area where we can train in Godliness is by emphasizing and practicing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

The fruit of the Spirit is made up of nine qualities. These are not qualities to be chosen or picked, but qualities which must be practiced in their totality.

For example, the believer cannot say I choose love but I reject patience, nor can the believer decide what we are good at and what we are not good at. We must embrace, develop, and practice all of the fruit of the Spirit.

A good way to look at the fruit of the Spirit is to see how these nine qualities are put together.

Most expositors point out that the fruit of the Spirit contains three groups of three, each with its own distinct emphasis.

The three groups are: (1) love, joy, and peace; (2) patience, kindness, goodness; and (3) faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

These three groups show us how our Godliness works out in a practical world.

The the first group (love, joy, peace) shows how we live in our relationship with God. These three qualities move outward from God to us. He gives us the wonderful blessing of love, joy, and peace. Let us practice these as we practice God’s presence.

The second group (faithfulness patience, and kindness) shows how we relate toward other people. Toward others we must be patient, kind, and gentle. God gives us His fruit so that we may act with these grace-given qualities toward others.

The third group (faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) shows us how we act within ourselves. These three qualities are seen outwardly by others, but they come inwardly from who we are. Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are practiced because of who we are on the inside.

“Train yourself in godliness, for . . . godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8, NRSV).

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