set an example

Read 1 Timothy 4:12-5:2.

God designed the Christian life to be a process that, given grace, effort, and patience, will show progress.

Being a Christian is not a one-time point, but a lifelong process.

  • “I was baptized.” So?
  • “I go to church every week.” You think that’s all there is to it?
  • I’m as good as the next guy and better than many.” And your point is?

No, being a Christian is a process. It’s ongoing work. It’s about denying yourself what you want and affirming only what God wants, not merely with your mind and intentions, but with your ways and lifestyle. It’s not merely about what you don’t do, but about everything you do. That means it’s all about daily effort that requires your close attention and scrutiny.

“… set and example … devote yourself … do not neglect … be diligent in these matters … give yourself wholly … watch your life and doctrine closely … persevere …”

You make progress in Christ-like ways when you persevere in your living for Christ. The Lord saved you so as to succeed with him; he has overcome the world and wills to enable you to do likewise.

  • “Well, I live this life of mine the way I see fit.” That’s not good enough.
  • “I’m the same person I’ve been for years.” That’s not good at all.
  • “What I am is a private matter between me and my God.” That view of life is no good for all the others with which God has surrounded you.

This is what’s it’s about:

“… so that everyone may see your progress. … as you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Process and progress. Those are two of the most important words that can possibly come to your mind each day if you’re a Christian. Be about them.

Heavenly Father, you are patient with me with a will and I thank you for that. Rome was not built in a day and I will not be either. Each day you give me I day is an opportunity for me to repent, to truly change and make progress toward you and in your Son’s character. Your patience reminds me that I am a ceaseless work in progress; I am not finished. Whatever good there is in my life I thank you for because I know it comes as fruit from your Spirit. Whatever is in me that is right reminds me that you have brought me a far from what is wrong. Give me vision, Father, to always walk with you and toward you. Give me success in my strivings to lay myself out for you. This is pray in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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