Daily Encouragement from the Word
April 3, 2020
     Good morning! Another Friday means another week is coming to an end, which means we’re just that much closer to this craziness being over! We’re a day closer to the end of it today than we were yesterday, and a week closer to the end of it than we were last Friday. Sometimes you have to celebrate small victories, Brothers & Sisters!
Today’s encouragement is from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to his young protégé, Pastor Timothy. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “…train yourself for godliness; for while physical 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.”
     I don’t know about you, but I’ve found it challenging to stay disciplined about exercising recently. If I’m honest, I kind of fell off the workout wagon a couple of weeks ago, but rallied this week to get back into it. I know I need it not just for my physical health, but especially right now, for my mental health, too. So I’m getting back into “training”.
     While I feel a little sheepish about my exercise lapse, I’m downright ashamed to have to admit that during that same time, I let my spiritual exercise lapse too. In the midst of the chaos of the last few weeks, while trying to adjust to new and ever-changing realities and figure out what it meant for our church and our staff and life and ministry, I just wasn’t spending the time in scripture and prayer that I typically do.
     Now, my salvation doesn’t depend on how often or how much I read the Bible or pray. It’s dependent on God’s grace and Jesus’s sacrifice: “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone”, as we Protestants say. It’s also true that my spiritual health and growth depend on that same grace. The Apostle Paul makes that clear in just about all of his New Testament letters.
     But Paul also knew that spiritual health, like physical health, requires an investment on our part. We’re supposed to “work out” what God is “working in” (Phil. 2:12-13). In fact, while Paul acknowledges that physical training is “of some value”, he reminds Timothy that spiritual training is even more valuable, as it reaps benefits not only for our life right now, but for the glorious life to come.
     I remind us of this not to induce guilt, but rather to encourage us to make sure we pay as much attention to our spiritual health as we are to our physical and mental health these days. And if, like me, your spiritual life has taken a bit of a back seat this last couple of weeks, don’t give up or give in. Maybe for some of you it’s been longer than just a couple of weeks. Regardless, now’s a good time to get back into training for spiritual health, whatever that looks like for you.
     Don’t let the strangeness of life during this pandemic keep you from regularly investing in your relationship with Jesus. Keeping your distance from people may be good for your health right now, but keeping your distance from the Lord never is. So while you’re taking care of your physical health, don’t forget to take care of your spiritual health, too. In the long run, nothing’s more important. Grace & Peace my friends.
Pastor Scott