Summary: Can we sit around and wait on God to change us or do we have a role in that spiritual growth?
Our Spiritual Growth Plan: “I’ll sit here and God will change me.”
- “If I need to change, then God will do it.”
- “Alright, God, here I am – change me!”
Paul’s Idea: We’ve got to train if we want to achieve the goal of godliness.
- v. 7.
- a.k.a. “exercise.”
- The Greek word here is “gumnazo,” from which we get “gymnasium” and “gymnastics.”
- You could say that church is the “gym for the soul.”
- If someone wants to lift a heavy weight or run a four-minute mile or shoot a round of even par, it requires training and practice.
- vv. 7-8.
- The idea of “godliness” is not a holier-than-thou attitude. It’s simply the idea of being like God.
- His love, joy, peace, etc. reflected in our lives.
- This is not about being able to perform spiritual tricks (getting answers to prayer for the sake of showing off; reeling off Biblical trivia or naming all the books of the Bible backwards).
- There is a difference between hanging out with a runner for a while and learning a few tricks to improve your lap time v. hanging out with a runner and catching his love of running.
c. “holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
- v. 8.
- “God does not bless methods. He blesses men whose hearts are completely His.”
Why Do We Need To “Train”? Because our inclination is in the other direction.
- Just like gardening (you’ve got to cultivate a garden), your body (you’ve got to get up off the couch), or a building (you’ve got to keep your house up).
- C.S. Lewis: Only the man who has tried very hard to resist temptation knows just how strong it is.
Are We Trying For Weightlifter Muscles? It’s not about “trying harder” but about “getting closer.”
- John 15:1-11.
- Mike Douglass’ weightlifter: “What do you do with the muscles?” And the guy just flexed them again.
What’s My Part And What’s God’s Part? I need to be an open channel for God’s power.
- John 5:19.
- Like a pipe.
a. Not blocked (as in having significant sin).
b. Not pointed in the wrong direction (as in not sharing Kingdom goals).
c. Not cracked (as in not being passionate about holiness).
What Does Training Look Like? Some examples:
- Reading the Bible.