Exercise yourself toward godliness: 1 Timothy 4:7b
Apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Titus, that the Lord Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed” (Titus 2:14). Jesus saved us not only so we don’t go to hell, but also to redeem us from our lawless deed. But in reality, this does not happen automatically for believers. Even though we are born again and have received salvation, we may still sin (1 John 1:10). So, redemption from all lawlessness does not happen instantly, but rather progressively. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
In an educational activity, there are teaching and training; and everything is progressive. In spiritual discipline, it’s true that the Lord has the initiative to teach and train us; but as a response, we must be willing to be taught and trained. In life, someone who wants to be successful in one area must have discipline in his/her daily life (for example: athletes, artists, businessmen and etc.) To succeed in our spiritual life is even more important, because it does not only benefit our life now, but also for eternity (1 Timothy 4:8).
If we go back to Titus 2:12, Paul says that God disciplines us so that we “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.” This means we have to leave behind any lawlessness. Moreover, God also teaches us to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” – so not only to live without sin, but also to live even more spiritual. This is the purpose of spiritual discipline.
There are people who feel that doing spiritual discipline is legalism – feeling burdened with the obligations to follow the rules. It’s actually the opposite. Someone who has spiritual discipline will find freedom over worldly things, victory over sins, peace in holiness and joy in God’s will.
There will be a time where those who are faithful in Christ must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. At that time, each person has to be responsible for everything they did as believers. The purpose is not to punish us; but instead, for those who are faithful, the Lord will reward us according to the quality and motive of our work on earth (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Surely, we want to bring the best offering to Him in heaven later, but we are collecting it while we are in this world. This is the beauty of spiritual discipline. God bless,
Adapted from the Central Article 2016, GBI Gatot Subroto Jakarta