1 Timothy 4:7-8
"Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."
Often, our walk with God is compared to weight training, drawing parallels between how one grows from the work one puts in. If I want to turn my round stomach into a six-pack, I have to put in the work and exercise my muscles. Similarly, with faith, we must grow by exercising our spirit. The concept makes sense, but how does it look in practice? I believe the answer lies in the bracelets found on many Christians in the 90s. You know the one, four simple letters: "W.W.J.D." If you're unfamiliar, it stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" The idea of this bracelet might have you taking a quick moment to think about your actions before responding in an "unchristian" way.
This was a fun trend, but it missed the mark just slightly. There is no doubt that responding like Jesus in all situations is ideal. However, we will not find ourselves equipped and ready to respond like Jesus if we do not put in the work! Our training should grow us in such a way that we find ourselves naturally responding as Jesus would, reflecting His character in all that we do. What does this training look like? I find no better method than to observe and practice the way Jesus lived His own life.
While this is certainly not a complete list, the following action steps are a great way to begin practicing some of the lessons Jesus taught through the way He lived here on earth.
1. Practice a pattern of daily prayer – Jesus set three consistent, dedicated times to pray. Try praying in different ways each time. Here is an example to start with:
- Morning - Pray through The Lord's Prayer, reflecting on each verse.
- Midday - Pray for the lost, the doubting, and the disengaged from their faith.
- Evening - Pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
2. Practice rest – In a culture of hurry and full schedules, we miss the opportunity to stop – rest – and center ourselves on what truly matters. Try setting aside one day a week, or even a part of a day, to stop and reflect on how God is working in your life.
3. Practice presence – This simply means in whatever moment you are in, consider the presence of God in your situation. Jesus walked the earth with a constant awareness that God was with Him. The same is true for us; He is with us. In the middle of your circumstances, take an unhurried moment to appreciate God's presence in whatever you are doing.
God, thank you for the life of Jesus. Thank you for His sacrifice, His love, and His example. Help my life look more like Jesus each and every day. Help me not to miss an opportunity to be Your representative to everyone who crosses my path. In Jesus' name, Amen.