Reading: “Exercise thyself unto godliness.” —1 Timothy 4:7
Sin is injurious to holiness; it robs the Christian of strength! Try praying after watching some lewd scene on television or try talking about the scriptures after engaging in gossip and slander. Christ says, “Come out from among them and be ye separate, touch not the [unclean] thing.” The development of outward sanctification is not obtained by adhering to a list of dos and don’ts, but by a continual looking to God: “Be ye holy for I am holy.” He is the pattern for holiness and in this pattern there is a mysterious power for the Christian. Holiness is therefore cultivated only by looking to God. The closer a man is to God in his thoughts (Philippians 4:8), the more holy that man will be. But thought will always lead to action. We are not just to think holy thoughts, we are also to practice holy living. It is a discipline, a struggle with mental, spiritual, and physical energy, diligence, and time. There are no shortcuts. “Be not slothful” (Hebrews 6:12) but “exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).