From a Devotional Life to Life Itself

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August 15, 2021

1 Timothy 4:7-10 (NIV)

7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

CONSIDER THIS

Has it ever occurred to you that you have to wake up every single day and sometimes multiple times a day even? Might there be a parallel with our faith—in our life hid with Christ in God? I have become certain there is such a parallel. A few days back we left off with the question as to how you go about setting your heart and your mind on Jesus Christ every single day. 

It starts with waking up—every single day. It’s why Seedbed stays so close to this word:

Wake up sleeper. Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you! (Ephesians 5:14)

I say this one aloud to myself, before I even get out of bed, every single day. Remember, this is not positive thinking. It is the very Word of God. How soon can the living and active Word of God become living and active in my day? That’s our question? And how can this stay living and active all day long. 

Remember Colossians 3:1. This is about mind and heart. Mindset and heart-shift. This second half challenge is a training program. It is about getting us into the Gymnasium of the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that what Paul is saying to Timothy in today’s text (and yesterday’s)?

train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 

This is likely going to mean stretching beyond our cozy devotional life mindset. For most of my life, my “devotional life” was just kind of warm and fuzzy. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Part scripture, part chicken soup for the soul. It was unfocused. I felt like if I could just begin my day with some good thoughts and a sincere prayer, that would do it. It was a box I checked—a meaningful box but a box no less. As I have moved into the second half of the gospel, I have let go of a “devotional life.” This has become my whole life.

Here’s another “helpful” analogy. My “devotional life” was like eating chips at a Mexican restaurant. A little bit of salsa, a little more guacamole, much more queso, but a whole bunch of chips. I would get full on chips and not even be hungry for the meal, wind up taking it home in a to-go box, putting it in the refrigerator and throwing it away three days later. Is it any wonder I lived for years stuck in the broken gravity of sin and mediocre faith?! 

Jesus Friends, we are training to “run the race marked out for us,” as noted in Hebrews 12:1-2, so that we might at the end of the course be able to say, “I have finished the race. I have kept the faith,” as 2 Timothy 4:7 declares. 

If this is starting to feel tiring or burdensome to you, then you are hearing me wrong. You see, I am not primarily talking about more things you have to do. This not more devotional activity. This is about Word and Spirit—a mindset and heart-shift. This is about what Jesus has already done and is now doing. This second half of the gospel is a “participation” in his life—what he has done and what he is now doing. This is about living in the gravity of his Kingdom—right here on earth. It is not about amping up our commitment and ramping up our striving. This is not about becoming a “commando Christian.” This is all about learning the easy yoke of Jesus, the light burden of his way, “the unforced rhythms of grace,” as Eugene Peterson translates it from Matthew 11.

Beholding God. Becoming Godly. 

There is so much I want to say to you. I am finding it hard to convey it all as writer to reader. This is a “together” way. I believe the Lord is stirring a plan to somehow get us together and do this in a shared way. Pray about it with me. 

Wake up sleeper. Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you! (Ephesians 5:14)

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, we are not so much onto something as we are into you. We are ready to lay off the chips and dip and get to the meat and potatoes of the meal. Old has gone. Behold the new has come. I no longer live. Christ lives in me. Save me from the trap of my own controlled commitment, from the seduction of more self oriented striving. I am not looking for a better devotional life. I am looking for life. I have found it in you. Come Holy Spirit and lift me into the gravity of God. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

Do the chips get you too? Satisfying but not substantive—right. Do you tend to measure your faith by your own sincere commitment or by the substance you are actually sowing into it? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Regarding reflection on my own faith walk; I remember Jesus’s words “ You can tell a good tree by its fruit “. In my opinion, good fruit are deeds which bring glory to God, not ourselves. Living in community with other committed believers is a necessity component for a fruitful faith walk in that it keeps us from deceiving ourselves by keeping us accountable to one another.

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