Terry Baxter Devotional

Harness the Power of Consistency Over Time: 1 Timothy 4:6-9

Harness the Power of Consistency Over Time: 1 Timothy 4:6-9
“6) In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7) But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8) for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9) It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:6-9
Paul now tackles the subject of personal discipline. He wanted Timothy to build his life and ministry around daily godly disciplines. Nothing is more important in any endeavor than daily consistency over time. It may start small but over time momentum builds in like an avalanche. Soon it will become a nighty force and affect many things in its path.
Paul wanted Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness. A life of godliness is the result of daily disciplines we build into our life. I will expand on that in a moment.
But first we need to observe that there are two sides in this text to the coin of self discipline. The first relates to the positive things we need to do every day. The second relates to negative or sinful habits we need to avoid or conquer on a daily basis. Learn to feed your spirit and starve your flesh daily. Why? Because both respond to the principle of consistency over time. You reap in your life what you sow on a daily basis. Starting today, assume responsibility for your own life!
So what are the positive things Paul wanted Timothy to build into his life. At the top of his list were spiritual priorities. He wanted him to set aside daily time for seeking God in prayer, studying the Word and laying the foundation of sound doctrine in his life. We can build this assumption on Acts 6:4. The Apostles “devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”
I believe according to Ephesians 4:20-24 that Paul made the renewing of the mind his second priority. He taught people to take control of their thinking. They needed to sort out truth from deception. They needed to build positive attitudes and emotions into their life. They needed to feed faith and starve doubt. They needed to convert the soul and work on positive mental health.
As you read all of Pauls writings you soon discover that good nutrition and physical fitness also ranked high on his list. Don’t mistake 1 Timothy 4:8 as Paul saying he did not value physical fitness. He was merely putting it below daily spirit and soul priorities. A casual reading of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 undergirds this point. Many Christians don’t do well spiritually because they are not taking proper care of the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Paul also put learning positive relational skills (Philippians 2:1-11), developing a good work ethic (Ephesians 4:28) and financial stewardship (2 Corinthians 8) among his personal disciplines. He emphasized intensional daily personal growth and development in all the above areas of his life.
On the opposite side of the coin, he instructed people to put off the old self. Don’t make the mistake of trying to put on the new without putting off the old. (Compare Ephesians 4:17-32 with Colossians 3:1-17) Positive disciplines and negative habits have a way of neutralizing each other. The spirit and the flesh are in constant tension. (Galatians 5:16-24)
Notice in 1 Timothy 4:6-7, Paul told Timothy to build on sound doctrine while avoiding worldly fables. Let me be candid; you will never come to godliness by just reading your Bible and praying a few minutes every day… if you spend most of your time surfing the internet, watching Hollywood smut, reading romance novels, dabbling in pornography and living in an immoral relationship. Stop fooling yourself! Your struggles in your walk with God are your own making. An undisciplined life is a wasted life.
Paul was telling Timothy to take control of his own life. If you want to be a fruitful Christian and effective leader then start building your daily life around godly disciplines. Harness the principle of daily consistency over time in your life. Lay the groundwork for an avalanche of godly momentum in your life. Forget the past and sow the daily seeds for a new life and future.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global