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Summary: While many people will set new goals for getting in shape in the New Year, how many of us will set goals to get in spiritual shape as well?

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I. GETTING IN SHAPE: A PICTURE …. The Bible describes getting in spiritual shape as growing in GODLINESS________________. (1 Timothy 4:8)

A. A Definition: Godliness is living a one’s life with a Godward focus and “a devotion to God which results in a life that is PLEASING___ to Him.” (Jerry Bridges)

B. A Defense: Godliness has “VALUE___________ for all things…”

1. Valuable for our PRESENT____ life…

2. Valuable for our FUTURE_____ life…

II. HOW DO WE GET IN SHAPE?

How would you counsel the following person(s) who have come to you for help?

• Dorothy is someone who struggles with over-eating. She tells you she is always trying to watch what she eats, but she finds herself constantly slipping and eating too much after the kids are in bed. She knows God want her to be healthier, but she confides in you, “I am so tired of her failed promises.

• Edna is upset with herself because she finds herself gossiping about different people in the church. This is true especially whenever her neighbor Ruth calls. Edna knows it is wrong to talk behind people’s backs, but Ruth always starts talking about people and then Edna feels drawn into the conversation.

• Mark likes everything about working construction, except the talk among his fellow workers. The language often gets crude and degrading. He says to you he has a real hard time trying to keep a pure mind and often feels like he is pulled down and sometimes sadly he even participate in the talk.

How would you counsel Dorothy, Edna and Mark?

“It is easy to slip into one of two EXTREMES regarding the Christian life. The first extreme overemphasizes OUR__________ ROLE and minimizes God’s role. This is position is characterized by the mentality of striving for and living for Jesus. It emphasizes knowledge, rules, rededication efforts, and human activities and virtually ignores the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The second extreme overemphasizes GOD’S_______________ ROLE and minimizes our role. This position is characterized by a let-go and let-God passivity. It stresses experience, the supernatural, and the person of the Holy Spirit and downplays the human element.” (Ken Boa)

III. A PLAN FOR GETTING IN SHAPE …. The Bible emphasizes two parallel routes to grow in godliness.

A. The first path is marked by DEPENDENCE: “The life of Christ can be reproduced in us only by the power of the Holy Spirit. As an inner work of God, it is achieved not by human effort but by divine enabling.” (Ken Boa)

1. John 15:4-5

2. Colossians 2:6-7

3. Galatians 2:20

4. Galatians 5:16, 25

B. The second path is marked by DISCIPLINE: “…There is no growth in the Christian life apart from discipline and self-control… spirituality is not instantaneous or haphazard; it is developed and refined.” (Ken Boa)

1. 1 Timothy 4:8

2. Titus 2:11-14

3. Hebrews 12:1-2, 4, 7, 12, 14

C. “The spiritual disciplines are… like CHANNELS of God’s transforming grace…” (Donald Whitney)


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