Table of Contents
‘Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, 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.’ 1 Timothy 4:7-8
How strong is your faith? Has it been weakened by un-repented sin, or by tragedy and hardship or have you just fallen into complacency? As Saint Paul points out, strengthening your faith will bring benefits ‘for both the present life and the life to come.’ When we strengthen our faith we draw closer to God, we understand the mystery of God at a deeper level, we are more able to resist sin and we achieve an inner peace. Saint Paul draws the comparison between physical training and spiritual training, an apposite observation given our contemporary obsession with the body beautiful. Strengthening your faith requires discipline and dedication, but its rewards are so much greater than those achieved by hours in the gym.
‘Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.’ James 4:8
In prayer we acknowledge God’s supreme dominion, we give thanks, we repent our sins and we ask God for help. So important is prayer that Jesus felt it necessary to teach his disciples how to pray, despite the fact that as Jews, they were familiar with the practice. His emphasis is on private prayer; prayer in which all pretense falls away and we are humble before God. Jesus prayed three times a day and so should we: beginning each day with prayer; giving thanks for our blessings at meal times and reflecting in prayer at the close of day.
Read the Bible and meditate upon the Scripture
‘If I don’t read my soul be lost, nobody’s fault-a but mine.’
Blind Willie Johnson cut straight to the truth in that song. We are blessed to live in a time when a Bible can be bought for a few dollars; there’s no excuse not to read your Bible everyday. Immersing yourself in the Word of God is like bathing in baptismal waters; your faith will grow and flourish. The word of God is not always easy to understand – why would we expect it to be so? Meditate upon the Scripture, memorize Scripture, let the Word of God soak into your heart.
Absolute trust in God
‘Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’ James 1:2-4
Do you trust in God? When we renounce all our vanities, all our petty strivings for worldly trinkets, when we place absolute trust in God, then we draw closer to God and we are filled with the Holy Spirit.