1 Timothy 4
The effective teaching of the truth in the Scriptures will benefit both the teacher and the hearers.
Anyone who has tasted the maturity given from the Lord to those who serve Him over time will testify that it did not come quickly or easily. Paul writes that we should exercise ourselves to godliness; that "bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things" (v. 8). Like an athlete, a Christian should rejoice with a rigorous course of training - knowing that the more demanding the training, the greater will be the spiritual prowess at the end. The present discomfort is fitting him or her for more victorious effort later. Present pain = later gain. This message is difficult to communicate and even more difficult to learn. But to this end we must labor (v. 10).
Because the Lord uses trials to make us spiritually strong, we can praise Him even when we are in the midst of trials:
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. . . .
The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted (Psalm 18:1-3, 46).
Pause for praise and thanksgiving.
Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
"I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22).
Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, and pray this affirmation to the Lord:
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
As you make your requests known to the Lord, include:
greater love for the lost,
missionaries in Africa,
whatever else is on your heart.
Finally, offer this closing prayer to the Lord:
This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).