Thursday, April 27, 2006

Growing and Groaning

Our theme verse for our retreat on "what Am I Doing Here?" was 1 Timothy 4:7. Here it is in three different translations.

But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. (KJV)

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (NIV)

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; (ESV)

The Greek word γuμναζε, which is translated "exercise," or "train" means “to train naked; train in a gymnasium.” This doesn't mean strip down to nothing then work out. It means get down to the skimpiest of garments so that nothing impedes your hard work. The point is that this is hard work. Paul wants us to understand that being like Christ; trying to be more like God; or closer to God; is not like falling off a log. It’s more like learning to roll the log and staying on top. Most of us understand that going to the gym implies sweat and lots of reps. So does attaining to Godliness. God’s Word says that we need to “work out, so that we can be Godly men.”
So, in order for us to know what it is we’re doing here; how to improve on that – and how to actually enjoy it; we need to take a look at something generally called the spiritual disciplines. This we will do sometime next week.