Brotherly affection is one of those qualities that Peter tells us that we need to add to our faith. He promises to us that if we have it and increase in it that we will receive a valuable benefit. First, we will not be ineffective as a Christian; second, we will not be unfruitful as a Christian; third, we will not stumble and finally, we will be given entrance into the Kingdom of Jesus. But what happens when we do not have brotherly affection? To answer this question, let’s look at the Prodigal son’s brother.
After the Prodigal had returned and his father was celebrating this return, the brother came in from the field and found out “there was a party goin’ on.”
But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'” (Luk 15:28-32 ESV)
He had no compassion on his brother.
Really, one might say that he didn’t even consider him to be his brother. “This son of yours” is a clear indication that he had separated from his the prodigal. Rather than rejoicing at the return of this prodigal to his good senses and to the family, the brother is more concerned about the party that is being thrown. Perhaps he considered it a further waste of his inheritance since the prodigal had wasted his portion.
He was short sighted.
He focused on the service he had given his father and yet, never had received such a party for his friends as his father was throwing for the prodigal. I rather doubt that this is completely true. In my own life, I know that I have exaggerated in order to justify my position. The use of the word “never” is key. What’s this? The father who is so generous to the returning prodigal NEVER(?) did anything nice for his son, never (?) threw a party for him, never(?) lavished him with gifts or some other present?
It may also be that the son had never asked. The father indicates that the son has access to what the Father had, could it be that he never asked for a party?
He bore a grudge.
There are many reasons why he could be upset with the Prodigal brother but he directs his anger at the party and the father. Why are you being so nice to him? In the parable, we see the Prodigal returning to the father to ask forgiveness. Perhaps this Prodigal needed to do the same thing to his brother. It was, after all, a sudden departure that robbed the family not just of physical wealth but relational wealth. However, the brother would rather hold the grudge than confront his Prodigal brother (who, if I read the story correctly, would have begged forgiveness). This grudge would keep them separated longer now and it was not longer the Prodigal who was missing but the brother who is leaving (not physically but relationally).
He may have been envious.
In many contexts I have heard a sentiment expressed that says in so many words: If I had not been a Christian, I would have been able to enjoy this or that pleasure of life before getting saved. That is an expression of envy and unworthy of those who are called by the name of Christ. We envy those who are enjoying the pleasures of this world because we see ourselves restricted by the “rules” of being God’s sons. Would we also envy their fate if they do not return?
The Prodigal’s brother was rich but he was really poor. Until his brother’s return, this poverty was not so easily noticed. Perhaps his father had realized this, maybe the father felt like he had lost two sons the day the prodigal left.
The application of this should be easy: If we are the brother who is still at home in the household of God, let us not fail to realize and recognize the benefits we have by serving our Heavenly Father. Let us also realize that we have a brother (or sister) who has left and needs to be welcomed back with open arms if they return. We should not envy them, bear a grudge, or feel that their return will in any way diminish our reward.
Question: Are there other undesirable qualities that the brother showed in this parable?
photo credit: Martin Young 42
Imagine you desire to run a marathon, set the goal of finishing the marathon, learn what it takes to train for the marathon and then…don’t put any of it into practice or keep hitting the snooze button! How much closer are you going to get to training for the marathon? Well, of course you are not getting closer.
Activity or practice of what you learn is an essential part of training. In a marathon situation, you practice setting a pace, breathing correctly, even perhaps how to grab a drink from a refreshment stand, drinking a little bit and pouring the rest over your head (I suppose). The point is, if you don’t put your knowledge into practice, it will not benefit you.
James is a classic epistle for talking about putting one’s knowledge into action in the spiritual realm. You learn more patience as you go through the trials than by watching other people do so. You learn more by comforting other people going through those trials than by reading about the ‘right thing to say’. As Job suffered through the trials Satan threw at him, he relied on what he knew about God and his years of experience to keep himself from sinning.
David, in facing Goliath, had previous experience in facing threats which helped prepare him for that situation. In all of it, he credited God with seeing him through. As God saw David through a fight with the lion and the bear, God will help us with the biggest lion of all. Satan is a roaring lion out to devour whoever he can. Activity helps us in our training.
Is attending church services such an activity? Is reading your Bible such an activity? Will these help you become more godly? The truth is, no godly Christian would fail attend church services or read their Bible, but how mature you are will make a difference to the answer. A newborn Christian will most certainly get trained in godliness by attending services but, as you mature, you need to be sure that you are not just a pew-warmer 5 years later. Reading your Bible is always going to move your forward, as long as you do not simply read the same passages over and over and fail to go a little deeper into the text. Apparently those to whom Hebrews was written has such a problem:
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:11-14 ESV)
This audience of God’s people missed out (as did we) on an opportunity to learn more about Melchizedek because they were dull of hearing when they should have been teachers. They had reverted back to milk and they did not have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice. In other words, no activity!
Don’t let the fear of mistakes stop you, you simply have to put what you have learned into action. If you talk to much, practice listening more. Make it a priority and a prayer item. If you use foul language, be aware of the times your react like that and, either avoid those situations, or pay attention to your actions so you can conquer the reaction and replace it with an appropriate response.
We don’t get to Heaven by being perfect (or at least perfect in ourselves) but as we add a virtue like godliness to our life, we become more like our Lord and assure ourselves of an entrance into that kingdom.
What activities help you exercise yourself toward godliness?
The third thing you will need to help you train for godliness is an education. Remember that while what Paul said in I tim 4:7 was in a context of physical training at a gymnasium, he was making a spiritual application. If you want to train for a physical event such as a marathon, you soon realize that having the desire to run a marathon and the goal for running it (e.g. to finish or beat your last effort) must be followed up by learning what you need to know in order to training for that race.
Let’s say you decided that your goal for being godly is to get to Heaven. (In other words, you would rather live than die!) Now what? How do you know if you are training correctly or not? How do you know if you are progressing toward godliness or moving further from it? You will need knowledge. God’s word tells Christians:
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation– if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1Pe 2:1-3 ESV)
Just as a newborn baby will feed on milk, so the Christian must feed on God’s word. Remember you when you obeyed the Gospel, becoming a Christian, how you wanted to know everything? The milk was good and helped you grow. Knowledge, in training for a marathon, says ‘put away milkshakes, sugars, and french fries” and, in a spiritual training, you put away ‘malice, deceit, hypocrisy.”
Yet at some point, milk needs to be left behind:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness… solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:12-14 ESV)
Christians, who should have progressed on to meat in their training, have actually reverted back to a need for milk. Just like an athlete with good training habits who stops those habits will soon find that even a simple 1 mile run is hard, so Christians will find that godliness is hard if they revert back and do not progress.
The Knowledge we need is in God’s word. David spoke often of his delight in the law of the Lord. Below is one passage. Many more exist in Psalms, I would suggest you read Psalm 119 and see what David says about God’s law, precepts, commandments, and ways.
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, (Psa 94:12 ESV)
Knowledge also comes by example. We learn what to do, or what not to do, by seeing what others have done. The Bible is full of examples of those who serve as models to follow and examples to avoid. What was written before was truly written for our learning. (Romans 15:4)
The knowledge you gain by studying God’s word is both of God’s law and of His character. Truly, a person will be godly when they are like God but until such a time as we actually reach that perfection, we continue to exercise ourselves toward godliness learning from the knowledge He has given us about Himself.
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (2Pe 1:3 NKJV)
If I asked you what you needed in order to train for a marathon, you probably would be able to suggest some items that are necessary. Perhaps the right equipment, perhaps the right nutrition, education, coach and so forth would be items you would suggest. What does it take to train oneself for godliness? Again, perhaps a number of items might come to mind. Over the next several posts, I would like to share some items you need in order to train yourself for godliness.
Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1Ti 4:7-8 ESV)
Number one need: Desire!
If you do not desire to be godly, it will not matter what else you might acquire in this process. If you bought the equipment for a marathon, shoes, shorts and even registered for a marathon but did not have the desire to run a marathon, it would profit nothing.
So many people think that they can have a little bit of God in their life but their heart is not in it. They have no real desire to be like God, have a heart like God, imitate God except in those occasions where they think it will benefit them. They take business courses on how the Golden Rule is the best way to operate a business but do not get the meat of the principle. They think that having a form of godliness (without the actual heart of godliness) will help them but it will not.
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing… imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1Ti 6:3-5 ESV)
God calls everyone. He encourages all, he even carries the weak but He pulls and drags no one. We are not dragged, kicking and screaming into a relationship with Him. This is not say that he will not work on us and discipline us. He does not just give up at the first defiant “NO!” but if you don’t want a godly character, he will let you live the way you want to. (Read Romans 1:18-32)
Of course, our desire may be there and a little weak. Although he was talking about faith, I think the plea of the father in Mark 9:24 is appropriate. “I believe, help my unbelief”, only we say “I desire, help my lack of desire.” A person with this attitude is one who can be worked with and willing to learn and be led.
Do you have a desire to be godly? Do you see this as a characteristic that you want to cultivate in your life? In the next few posts, I am going to suggest some items you will need in order to make the character of godliness a reality in your life. What do you think the next item will be?
So you go to the bookstore and find three books that you wish to purchase. You hand the books to the cashier and walk out with the books in your bag, a receipt, and a vague feeling that the amount is not correct for your purchase. The vague feeling quickly becomes a confirmation in your car before you leave. You have been overcharged! Instead of three books, your receipt reflects four. What do you do?
(Insert 30 second pause here)
How many of you did not need 30 seconds? How many of you knew that you would immediately march back into the store, receipt in hand, and point out the error. Would you also discuss with yourself “Self, what if they do not believe me?” The answer would be obvious, you would ask for a manager. It would be important to you to correct this error. The clerk made a mistake and should not have done so. It must be corrected, it will be corrected. You do not even leave the parking lot.
This is a reasonable conclusion. You may have concern about being believed but you wouldn’t let it stop you. You would be just and righteous if you were to return to correct the problem.
So let’s revisit this situation again, only this time, instead of being charged twice for one your books, you get to the car, check your receipt and that vague feeling is again confirmed. This time, you notice that he only charged you for two books, not three. What do you do?
(Insert 30 second pause here)
I would hope that no one needed more time deciding what to do in this scenario than they did in the previous one. Unfortunately, we have grown up in a society where if the mistake benefits “me” then we will just keep our mouth shut. The justifications range from “He should have noticed it—his loss” or “They can afford the loss–it is after all a big company” to the outrageous ones “God has blessed me!”
Unless two parties are agreed that something took place, how can you call it an honest transaction? Sure mistakes are made and sometimes correcting them takes a lot of time but at least, by calling it to the attention of the other party you allow the unintentionally self inflicted harm to be corrected.
Honesty is always right. Integrity cannot be shown only when things are in your favor.
As you leave the store, the second time you feel good because the total is right. Neither of you lost money, the transaction was as it should be. Price offered and willingly paid.
James says that when trials come that our faith is tested. (James 1:2) I think many consider this faith that James mentions to be a belief in God’s existence. I think that he means instead, that we will test what kind of faith (trust) in God that we have. We will learn, after the test, if our life matches the life His Son led. WWJD?
One should never go through life afraid. Fear is something that hampers not just our potential ability but also our current ability. When one gives into fear, even those things that can easily be done start to become the Goliath’s that challenge us. Yesterday we looked at three steps that can help us eliminate fear from our life.
The primary reason for eliminating this fear is to become more like Jesus. No passage that I am aware of ever says that Jesus experienced the emotion of fear. His relationship with God is a primary reason for that and while we strive to become more like him, we take baby steps towards removing our fears.
Additional Step number one: Speak with confidence.
Asserting something in all confidence is a practice that anyone can use. State what you believe to be true. It not only causes others to take heart but just the proclamation leaving your own lips can embolden you too. When Daniel’s three friends were given a second chance to bow down to the idol the King made, this was their response:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Dan 3:16-18)
Speaking like this may seem suicidal but, really, if there was any smattering of doubt or mildness of temptation in their minds, such a declaration would chase it far from them.
Additional step number two: Remember God is in control.
That same passage also illustrates that we should always remember that God is in control. Apparently they did not know the end of the matter. Neither do we in our own lives. Too often we make bold plans and do not allow God to be part of them. We are like those in James 4 who are rebuked for planning and not so much as even saying “If the Lord wills…”
Daniel’s friends did not say God would deliver them in a prideful way. They simply acknowledged the boundary that God had set up: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” We are not going to cross it even if we do die, they indicated to the King. They let God be God and they just followed along. As I asked in a post a couple of days ago, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If they survive, they continue on in this world, if they were burned up, then they would rejoice in before God’s throne. Which would be better for you?
Job also had this attitude: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” He would not blame or accuse God rashly. No sin escaped his lip.
Additional step number three: Focus on the realities and not what might happen.
Jeroboam did not focus on reality when he became king. The ten northern tribes made him their king just as God had said they would. However, Jeroboam was apparently afraid that they would return to the King of Judah if they went up to Jerusalem to worship God. So he took matters into his own hand:
And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. (1Ki 12:26-29)
Had he only exalted God, the result would have been different. Many times others have shown the same fear and, in that fear turned away from God. Israel in the wilderness choose fear over God by listening the report of the ten spies. Another king of Israel responded with worry when Namman came to be healed rather than send him to the Prophet right away.
The Pharisees responded to Jesus with fear too. They feared that their position would be taken away and so, rather than accepting the Messiah, they sought a means to kill him. (John 11:46-48) Fear of change can be a powerful force and because they gave into it, indeed not just their position, but their whole nation, was taken away from them.
Fear should not be accepted as an option. Let’s follow Jesus’ example of no fear and work to remove what fear we have.
When it comes to being afraid, I think I would be safe in saying that there are times in which we all have fear. A loud thunderstorm, a venomous snake, a plane that shakes at 35,000 feet may be things that cause us to become afraid. In the Bible there are times when people are afraid and then there are those people who never seem to be afraid. One cannot read the life of David and conclude that he was never afraid but there are not many times recorded. Some passages (Ps 55 and 1 sam 21:12) indicate fear on David’s behalf.
By and large though, he not a fearful person. Many of the psalms written encourage us by sharing that there is no reason to fear. Psalm 23 is probably the most well known.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psa 23:4 ESV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psa 27:1-3 ESV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, (Psa 46:1-2 ESV)
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psa 118:6 ESV)
David seemed to have a very pragmatic approach to situations that would cause other men to cower in fear. This approach could be summed up in “What’s the worst that can happen?”
This seems to be the attitude that David had as he confronted Goliath. As you read the passage in 1 sam 17, you see David, time and again, express his confidence that God would deliver him.
The armies of Saul heard the challenge of Goliath and were afraid. They had forgotten who was on their side! David came to remind them of that simple fact. The assembly of God’s people did not know how the Lord saves. They soon would!
and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1Sa 17:47 ESV)
Fear is often the result of worry about what might be. I agree with Mark Twain: most of the things I have worried about never happened.
What might have been in David’s case is a quick death. However, he would then be with God and that would be good. So if you can accept the worse case scenario, then go slay your Goliath with the help of the Lord. What’s the worst that can happen?
Yesterday, we talked about bodily exercise in relationship to godliness. Paul uses this metaphor to encourage Timothy toward a life of godliness. However, it is not the physical exercise that Paul is really warning Timothy about. Paul’s main point, starting in chapter 4, is to warn Timothy about those who will depart from the faith and practice an ascetic life thinking it will produce benefit. This departure is not simply because they are tired of Christian living but because they pay attention to “deceitful spirits and teachings of demons”.
It is not the ones drawn away that are the real problem but those who draw them away by insincere lies and teachings that, for all practical purposes, are the teachings of asceticism. The forbidding of marriage, requiring abstinence from certain foods, and all such types of “irreverent and silly myths” are only, in reality, an appearance of piety.
They offer no true benefit:
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (Col 2:20-23 ESV)
It is that stopping of the fleshly indulgences that Godliness is able to help with.
Asceticism does seem to help answer some of life’s more difficult questions. The Ascetic believes that by abstaining from worldly pleasures one can achieve a more spiritual or enlightened state. Paul’s warning may be an early indication of Gnosticism beginning in some areas of the Christian faith. When one renounces worldly pleasures and goods, it is easier to answer those hard questions such as:
- How much do I give to the church or others?
- How much car should I buy?
- How big of a house should I get?
- How much “bling” do I buy in clothes or toys?
The answers are to give more, buy less, do without and avoid purchases that you do not need. Living an austere life then becomes the measuring stick. You also are more able to judge others by how they stack up to your level of austerity. If they have more, buy more, enjoy life more, then they are not as pious as you are. The whole attitude is one of self-will, self-control, or will power. Without the proper motivation and purpose, it is doomed to fail.
Godliness, on the other hand, also answers these questions but does so with a different attitude. Godliness, is not an outward, mechanical, rote action that by itself has some value. You can not say because you spend 5 hours in prayer that you are more godly than the person who spends 1 hour in prayer, even though prayer is something that a godly person will engage in. That is the type of trap the Pharisee fell into and Jesus warns about:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luk 18:9-14 ESV)
Godliness answers these questions from the heart. With a Godward attitude, one is first grateful to God for what he has and then because he knows God is a generous God, he is then able to let go of things this world promotes. Why? Because they are sinful? To be sure, some are but many are not. The Why is answered by what distracts him from putting God first in his life. I have no doubt that Abraham and Job were godly men. Their riches did not prevent them from serving God. If they will prevent you from doing so, then by all means, get rid of them, for it is better to enter into Heaven, poor and destitute, than to be cast into Hell with all of your riches (which will be burnt up, in a short nanosecond anyway.) You do not see a U-haul following a hearse.
Paul encourages Timothy to train for godliness, but he will not be able to do so if he goes to the extreme that Asceticism would require. What examples to you have, were Asceticism was being promoted to try and improve godliness?
In athletic events, those who engage in them spend a great deal of time preparing for them. They train and exert self control over many facets of their life. You would not expect to see a marathon runner eating unhealthy foods prior to the race or during the preparation for it. Athletes follow the rules and don’t expect to win unless they do. (2 Tim 2:5) Paul, as he about to depart from this world, writes to Timothy and says that he has finished the race. (2 Tim 4:7)
Each of those illustrations relate to our spiritual goal of getting to heaven. Athletes exercise self control but do so to win a perishable crown and we do so for an imperishable. (I cor 9: 24-25) Paul finished the race and knew that there was a crown of life waiting for him.(2 tim 4:8) Even Jesus, asked “why do you call me Lord and do not do the things I tell you” (e.g. follow the rules) (Luke 6:46)
Paul uses the illustration of exercise but he does so primarily to make the bigger point. He says that bodily exercise does profit but only a little, whereas godliness profits in this life and in the life to come.
To his first point, that bodily exercise profits little, we should recognize that even if we were able to extend our life span up to double the normal span and reach 150 to 200 years of age, there is nothing that physical exercise can do beyond death. We might live a better, more healthy life and we might stretch those years out but we are all going to die eventually. Knowing this, we recognize that even those victories which we win, those wreaths that perish, are short lived.
When compared with eternity, our mere 70 to 80 years of life in this world is nothing. But even more “nothing” than that is the 2-4 hours that a marathon runner has trained so hard for. You see, they exercise such control, practice so hard, endure so much and all so that their body will endure the time that they spend during the race: 2 hours if you are fast, 5 hours if you are slow. We on the other hand exercise self control, exercise for godliness, and endure so much so that we might live in eternity.
Godliness, on the other hand, is profitable in both this life and the one to come. We understand the benefit of the next life but even here in this one, being a godly person is profitable. Daniel found that out as he determined not to defile himself with the King’s food. (Dan 1:8,17). Many times in our life, we will find that being godly is something that people will respond to in a positive way but it also is a way that we keep our lives on track; you might even say it is a way by which we can sleep at night.
The fact that Timothy was told to exercise himself to godliness should serve as an admonition to us and encouragement. Timothy, who had been trained with Paul was so highly thought of by Paul:
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. (Php 2:19-20)
If this young man was needing to be encouraged to train himself for godliness, then we also should take such an exhortation to heart as well.
This next Sunday, Lord willing, we will be discussing the characteristic of godliness, continuing our look at the qualities that Peter mentions in 2 peter 1. We will look at the text from Timothy to illustrate godliness where Paul writes:
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1Ti 4:7-10 ESV)
The focus of this post is to ask a question concerning “Train yourself”. When one goes into training, there are several things that he needs to do (or stop doing) or have, or get rid of in order to make the training effective. For example, two items that come to mind real quick are diet and encouragement. You may give up certain foods in order to provide the body a more healthy choice of nutrition. You may hire a Personal trainer (if this were a gym setting), a Drill Sargeant will do nicely in the army to encourage you to prepare better to meet the goals needed.
While the idea of a Gym work out might be a good setting, an soldier setting might be more appropriate to the overall feel of a spiritual war.
The question is: What do you think is necessary to engage in a good training? If you were going to have someone help you train, what would it look like? I would like your thoughts.