On the other side of temptation is a plan to walk with God. Paul said to Timothy, not only to run away, but to run toward: “But you, o man of God, flee these things [i.e., temptations], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called” (1 Timothy 6:11-12).
Paul gave Timothy a positive word—make a plan to choose what is good. Here we come to the root meaning of the word “disciple.” a disciple is one who disciplines his or her life around a practice. In the case of Christian believers, it is the practice of godliness. We must have a systematic plan to learn such things as prayer, service (i.e., dedicate a time each week when you help the poor), hospitality (invite someone into your home for a coffee), giving (practice budgeting and giving a percentage of your money away), biblical study (do daily Bible reading, and join a small group for study together), worship (go to church), forgiveness (bless the ones who wronged you), etc.
Let’s be absolutely clear: We are saved by grace. Nothing can be added to our salvation by our own efforts. Yet we grow by the practice of godly disciplines. Instead, we grow weak and ineffectual without them. Jesus practiced them. So should we.
Lord Jesus, Your ways are perfect, and so often I get tripped up by worldly thoughts and goals rather than the intentional daily practice of godliness. May I walk away from those things which draw me away from Your heart and make a plan to continually choose what is good. Help me to be intentional about practicing the spiritual disciplines that lead me to look more like You!
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise your Father in heaven (Mt. 6:9). Thank him for including you as a son or daughter in his family. Confess moments when you’ve acted like an orphan, turning your back on God’s fatherly love. Commit yourself to deeper fellowship with your Father. Ask him to reveal his abiding love in your life through his Word and Spirit.
Think of one friend or coworker who has not experienced God’s fatherly love in a redeeming way. Pray for an opportunity this week to speak to that person of the hope that you have (Eph. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:15).
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2014 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.