Prioritizing

“Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette”.

Watering the Tulips

08/31/2011

“But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” - I Timothy 4:7-8

As I sit to write this short article, I haven’t long since ran 3 miles this morning. Yes, I’m trying to get “into shape.” According to my doctor, I need to drop a few pounds and lower my cholesterol a few points. He suggested getting into a routine of running. Having done this for a little while, I can honestly say that I have seen some benefits – I feel better; I’ve lost weight; I’ve toned up; and my cholesterol numbers are surely looking better. So, I’m living proof that there is “a little” profit in “bodily exercise”. Many people have used the verse above as an excuse not to exercise. However, nothing in this verse prohibits or discourages a good exercise routine. In fact, since there is “a little” profit in exercising, I’d say it encourages it. I’m sure glad I started exercising.

All that having been said, what is this verse teaching? In a word…priorities. We, as believers, must have our priorities right. Though bodily exercise is profitable and useful, it should not be that which controls our life. Exercising, fishing, hunting, golfing, knitting, scrapbooking, or any other hobby should never be that which drives a child of God. We need to be driven by our faith. The main exercise we need to be doing is exercising ourselves “toward godliness”. This carries with it blessings in this life and the life to come.

Paul encourages us in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” When we are brought to faith in Christ by the Holy Spirit of God, we need to begin preparing for eternity. This life is not our home. We are only passing through here. In a sense, this life can be likened to a trip you take away from home. If you take a vacation, you surely do not set lay up foundations in the town you are visiting. You will only be there a few days or weeks at most. The same is true with our lives here on Earth. Our life is “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We need to prepare for the life to come.

In 1 Timothy 2:9, Paul encourages women to “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works”. Just as our text verse is often misunderstood, so is this one. Paul is not restricting a woman from dressing nicely. He is not saying that women can’t wear golden earrings or pearls. He is saying the same thing that our text verse is saying. The way a woman dresses shouldn’t be the most important thing in her life. The first thing she needs to do is clothe herself with “good works” because this is “proper for women professing godliness”. Again, we need to make sure we have our priorities straight. Just as a woman’s (and a man’s for that matter) goal in life shouldn’t be to impress others with clothing, so we shouldn’t devote our entire lives to exercise or any other hobby. First and foremost, we are children of God and we should “be diligent to present” ourselves “approved unto God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed…” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Child of God, always prioritize. When you do, make sure God is first in all things. He is to have the preeminence in our lives. He is before all for He has given us more than any. He alone is worthy!

Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your app to the Gospel” is available for download in the iTunes app store and the Android market. Download it today.

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