October 19: “How to Grow in Godliness”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 33:1–34:22
1 Timothy 4:1-16
Psalm 89:1-13
Proverbs 25:23-24

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT): “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’”

Reflections from Scripture:

In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, we are given words that almost smell like a locker room. We are told to train ourselves, and it talks about “bodily training.”

As Paul writes to his protege, Timothy, he says something that both of them would understand. Bodily exercise is beneficial. If we do physical exercise in the present, it will yield a fit body in the future.

Then, Paul draws the analogy of spiritual exercise. He tells Timothy that if he is going to get spiritually fit and capable of handling whatever life sends his way, he had better hit the spiritual gym sooner rather than later.

So, how do we grow in godliness?

It’s like a farmer. A farmer has no power over the harvest. He can work tirelessly tilling the soil, getting the seed planted, and then working to ward off pests and disease. Yet, after he has done all that he can do, he relies on forces outside himself to grow that seed into a bountiful harvest. So, he does his part, and he prays that God does His part.

To grow in godliness, we certainly must do our part. We must engage in those activities spoken about in the Bible and that Christians have engaged in for 2,000 years. Yet, when we have done all we can, we are reliant upon God to graciously mature us to produce the harvest of holiness. 

So, what can we do to put ourselves into a place where God can get us spiritually fit?

Listen to your Bible. The Bible is God’s Word to you, so read it reflectively. Listen to what God will reveal to you. Insist on obeying everything you read that is properly understood and applied.

Spend time talking to your Heavenly Father.

Set aside times for worship (not just Sundays).

Learn about and practice the disciplines of silence and solitude. (I taught on this topic in this past Sunday’s sermon at my church.)

In fact, I would recommend a book that deals with how to get spiritually fit by engaging in spiritual disciplines. It’s called “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Don Whitney.

This book dives into specific spiritual disciplines and tells you how to make the most of them. If you are serious about growing in godliness but would love a specific plan for doing so, I would highly recommend Don Whitney’s book!

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, giving Yourself to me on the cross and in each day of my life is worthy of giving my life to You in return. I pray that You would cultivate greater degrees of godliness in my life as I engage in the spiritual disciplines that Christians have participated in for millennia. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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