1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
If Godliness is profitable for all things, then how do we grow in Godliness? In verse 10 Paul says, “to this end we both labor and suffer reproach.” This says to us that Spiritual Growth or Godliness is something to be labored for or strived for. Countless books, Bible studies, and sermons have centered on this idea. It is important to say that this does not discount the work of the Holy Spirit in this process. We cannot say that spiritual growth is the sole work of the spirit when Paul is laboring to grow in godliness. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we cannot in our own effort work to grow in godliness on our own. There is a meshing of our labor and the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul speaks of “working out our own salvation” in Philippians 2:12. This “working out” is not speaking of the forgiveness of our sins but of growth in Godliness.
Many people and many churches have assumed that if you attend worship and Sunday School/small groups that you will grow in your faith. The problem is we can attend these and still not grow. We have to be receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit. We also have to be willing to engage in the process.
Do many of the problems of today point to a lack of spiritual growth following conversion? Is this the problem we see with the many people leaving the church? How do we help people grow in Godliness if “regular” attendance is once a month? Ultimately, this is an appeal for each of us to apply ourselves to growth in Godliness. How are you doing growing in Godliness? What do you need to change in your life to grow in Godliness? Who holds you accountable? How will you know that you are growing?