We hear a lot, today, about eating healthily, taking exercise and generally looking after the person we are. The apostle Paul calls this person ‘the outward man’ reflecting that it ‘perishes’ or is wearing away [2 Corinthians 4:16]. It is precisely because we are wearing away that we need to take care, and life improves when we do. We have an ‘inner’ person as well, a spiritual side to who we are, which provides us not only with our ability to believe, to trust and to have faith, but, ultimately, can establish our connection with Yahshua. This is often called the Spiritual life, and it, too, benefits and improves when it is nourished.
Writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul urged him to “…train yourself to be godly…” [1 Timothy 4:7, New International Version]. Paul’s frequent use of the word ‘godly’ in this letter stimulated me to explore the word. Interestingly, he uses it seven times when writing to Timothy, and once when writing to Titus, but nowhere else. “It implies,” states the NIV Study Bible, “a good and holy life, with special emphasis on its source, a deep reverence for (Yahweh).” For these two young men - it was not too early to start training.
Training takes commitment; it requires concentration and consistency. The odd visit to the gym won’t build a lasting physique! The same values apply to the Spiritual life – we need to take time out for regular quietness. We live in a noisy, sound-oriented world, and the essential need for quiet has never been greater. “The higher the function of the human spirit, the more necessity for quietness” reflects J.B. Phillips thoughtfully. “It is imperative that…we make for ourselves a period of quiet each day.” I believe that this is the daily ‘workout’ by which we will train ourselves to be godly.
Is it so difficult to carve out even a fifteen-minute space for this? Yes, it is – unless we see it as an absolute essential for spiritual health. Quiet times do not necessarily need to include prayer and Bible reading, they can be times spent simply and quietly in the Presence of Yahweh. The other spiritual disciplines, and their consequent spiritual health, will grow from that. It’s never too late to begin!