“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

Progress as Christians

(Please read 1 Timothy 4:7-16)

May 20

Timothy received much wise counsel in these verses, culminating with the exhortation to be so “absorbed” (NASB) in such things that his progress would be evident to all. It was good advice for this young preacher, and its principles are just as relevant to other believers as well. The idea of progress as used here is entirely in harmony with other scriptures teaching about growing in the faith and in our abilities to serve the Lord.

In Christianity, as in all worthwhile endeavors, there is no standing still. We either progress or retrogress – we go forward or we go backward. So the complacent Christian is in danger of going backward even though he may think he is going forward.

The word translated “progress” here appears only three times in the New Testament (the others are Philippians 1: 12 and 24). Originally the word was used of a pioneer cutting his way through brushwood, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary. Thus there is nothing passive about progress; it certainly doesn’t mean “drift forward.” This point is even more evident when we consider the menu of activities and goals laid out for Timothy in our text – things that a drifter simply could not accomplish.

A lot of eyes are watching our progress, or lack of it, including friends, fellow Christians, our Lord, and even any enemies we may have. Let’s give them something good to look at.

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