You know when you are strong or weak, tall or short, fairly good looking or in need of a good make-over. We all examine ourselves in one way or another and make some judgment as to our "status" in this life. Some will admit to being a little too heavy, others a little too thin. Regardless of our "status" in this life, we have ways we "show" what it is we really are - through what we demonstrate in this life to others, ourselves, and Christ. What we demonstrate in the moments we think we are "in control" may be the most telling of the truths about our real "make-up" in this life.
This will show that you are a good servant of Christ Jesus. You will show that you are made strong by the words of faith and good teaching you have followed. People tell silly stories that don’t agree with God’s truth. Don’t follow what these stories teach. But teach yourself to be devoted to God. Training your body helps you in some ways. But devotion to God helps you in every way. It brings you blessings in this life and in the future life too. (I Timothy 4:6-8 ERV)
Most of us strive to be good servants of Christ. In fact, we really don't wake up in the morning hoping to be a lousy servant today. If we are honest, we are probably lifting up little prayers as we rise which go something like, "God, will you please help me be better today", or perhaps "God, I did a pretty poor job with life yesterday, so I am hoping for a better start today." We want a fresh start because we didn't do so well with the fresh start we received yesterday! I am so glad we don't exhaust our fresh starts with God. His grace is never depleted.
We are made "holy" not by the things we eat or don't eat, do or don't do. We are made holy because we embrace the grace we are given and we endeavor to draw closer to God today than we were yesterday. Admit it - we receive a lot of good teaching - we walk in about a tenth or less of it. Good teaching is effective only to the degree it is embraced. Yesterday, our attitudes and actions may have shown we didn't do the best job embracing those teachings. Today is a fresh chance to embrace even one of them!
We get life "right" far less than we get it "wrong". This is part of human nature. It is impossible for us to live above "failure" or even not having tried. There are times when we are just not going to make the effort, or the effort we make is totally not sufficient to get us even remotely close to the obedience God desired of us. In those moments, it is imperative that we keep our wits about us, turn again fully into God's grace, and allow him to bind up whatever it is we have "undone" by our lack of obedience.
We actually "teach ourselves" to be devoted to God, not so much in the "never failing", but in the "failing". This may not make sense to some, but here is something I have come to appreciate in my life: I can do a whole lot of things well with a pretty high degree of consistency. When I might muff something up which I usually do well, it is easily overlooked because it is a "fluke". If I see them as "flukes" - simple aberrations which really don't mean much - I miss the opportunity to take the "miss" or "fail" to God for his input and help. When I bring them to God, I often get a far different perspective on the matter at hand, finding it is far less of a "fluke" than a "root" which must be dealt with for me to really be "consistent" in my walk.
There are some who will rise this morning, don work-out gear, tie on the tennies, and head out to the streets to beat a path around the neighborhood and then back home. I am not one of those. In fact, since my knee replacement I am unable to run any longer, so the best "path beating" I can do is either on a bicycle or by walking. The path we beat with such consistency is indeed good for us, but if we are caught up in this being all there is to keeping our bodies well, we miss out on a whole lot of other important aspects of taking care of ourselves. In much the same way, we need a well-balanced perspective on our devotion to God. We don't just "do prayer", or "do Bible reading", and expect we will develop into well-balanced followers of Christ.
We need devotion which drives us, but we need sometimes settle for a passing fancy when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. If we are to enter into the fullness of all God has prepared for us, we need to teach ourselves devotion. This means we aren't too quick to pass over the "flukes" in our day, but we are open to discussing them with Jesus and allowing him to show us where those "flukes" are really rooted. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we need this type of help because until we get his perspective on our lives, we only see things as we imagine them to be. Heaven knows our imagination plays tricks on all of us! Just sayin!