Read: 1 Timothy 3:14-4:16
Godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (v. 8 NRSV)
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell reports that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Baseball players, violinists, computer programmers, and inventors all need to spend hours at their craft. They need dedication, determination, and discipline. The same is true if we are to be spiritually formed. Intellectual assent to a belief system is necessary, but we need more.
Today we take up the idea that growing spiritually is a process. Writer and theologian Eugene Peterson describes the spiritual formation process as “a long obedience in the same direction.” We are on a lifelong journey in the kingdom of God now and yet to come.
In this passage, Paul described Timothy’s process of spiritual formation. In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases the passage like this: Timothy had been raised on the message of the faith and had followed sound teaching; he was to exercise daily in God for a disciplined life. He was to teach believers with his life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. He was to cultivate his gift of leadership. He was not to be diverted, but just keep at it.
Paul gave Timothy what Dallas Willard called “VIM”—a vision for his life, a call to intentionality, and the means to carry out the vision. This is our mandate as well. —Karen Bables
As you pray, ask God to help you grow.
About the Author
Karen Bables is the retired Spiritual Director of Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan.