The Discipline of The Good Servant


1Tim. 4:6   If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8 for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.


Over and over Timothy is encouraged to be a good teacher. Discipleship training was an important feature of the early church and there were great concerns over false teaching. The only way this could be overcome was by on-going, correct teaching about the faith. This meant that Timothy himself had to be trained so that he could pass on his faith. He had to be disciplined in his own theological education so that he could educate others. 

The discipline of a good servant was to avoid the “old wives’ tales” that were being spread regarding faith. He was to exercise self-discipline in terms of his physical body, but never at the expense of his spiritual life. Spiritual growth and development was to be something worth working for. It was not something that would just magically happen in the life of this servant of God, but it would require time and effort for his own development. Then, and only then, would he be able to invest in the lives of others. 


Spiritual discipline takes time and effort and that doesn’t always make us comfortable. Getting to know Christ has to become a priority in all that we do. The strength of our witness is dependent upon our nearness to Christ. The discipline of our faith will take us into greater knowledge and understanding of our Lord. That knowledge will spill over and fill the lives of others. 

Taking the time to teach others is vitally important to their spiritual development. Sometimes we overlook the need for intentional discipleship and allow those who are new in the faith struggle to develop on their own. That is just as crazy as expecting a newborn to grow without help. It’s called “failure to thrive” when a child struggles in their development. That’s probably language we ought to use in diagnosing the discipleship of new believers. If we are not feeding them and teaching them to ultimately feed themselves, they will fail to thrive. 

Teaching is a necessary responsibility of ministers and lay leaders who have grown and developed in the Lord. We must pass on that which we have come to know. 


Lord, may wisdom and knowledge of you fill my life to overflowing.  Amen. 


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