Several times on this blog we have addressed accountability as a leader. Today, women’s leader Elizabeth Scholes challenges us once again to seek out an accountability “truth teller” to help us grow as a follower of Christ and leader of women.
Do you have a truth teller in your life? Someone who speaks truth to you, even when you may not like to hear it? I hope you do! I had one of those less than desirable moments several weeks ago from my favorite truth teller, my sweet man. I was doing a workout at home when he quietly mentioned to me that I was not getting the full effect of a certain exercise. Then, of course, he proceeded to show me how it should correctly be done. A couple of those repetitions and I was groaning and wanting to go back to my fake way! Then I realized that my way of faking it through the exercise was not going to benefit me like doing it the correct way. The moment I feel any sense of discomfort I take that as my cue to stop. If it hurts it can’t be good for me, right? The familiar motto, “No pain, no gain” came to mind.
As a walked around with sore muscles the next few days the Spirit of God nudged my heart and told me that I also approached much of my spiritual walk the same way – going halfheartedly through the “exercises” but stopping short of anything that might stretch me or be the least bit painful. Apparently I am not only one who has this problem because Timothy mentioned it in his letter to the early Church also, “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Timothy 4:7b-8). I like the way the Message also reads: “ Exercise daily in God – no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.”
In staying true to His character, God then urged me to do something that really pushes me past my comfort – the discipline of memorizing Scripture. I felt His conviction about this particular area of my spiritual life and wouldn’t you know that the very next day I began a bible study that came with the challenge of memorizing the entire book of James. “Yes Lord, I get your message loud and clear.” I can tell you that this has stretched me and caused me to move past “the burn” in order to take hold of what God has called me to do. His sweet and most powerful grace has accompanied me through this and at this writing I have 31 verses memorized. This training myself for godliness is hard. It requires my time, my energy, my focus, my discipline and most importantly, my love for Christ. But His return on it is good and abundant!
As you and I lead women, we have to be spiritual fit in order to spur on others. Years ago when I was a young teenager, a wise pastor spoke into my life and said, “Leaders take people to places where they won’t otherwise go on their own.” That description has never been far from my mind. If I walked into a weightlifting class only to find my instructor to be weak and without muscle, I would have a serious lack of confidence in what that class could offer me. In the same way, we have to be the models of this spiritual fitness and discipline, not only for the delight we will receive from knowing Christ, but also for the benefit of those we are leading.
How about you? Are you always up for a challenge or are you like me, ready to stop at the first conviction, when you encounter that difficult person to minister to, or face an unforeseen twist in your story? I Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race al the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” There is a prize for us if we pursue godliness, girls! Are you on a lollygag journey with Christ, or are you training yourself for godliness in pursuit of that most glorious prize?
Elizabeth Scholes serves on the Women by Design leadership team at Noland Road Baptist Church in Independence, MO. She has a passion for ministering to moms and encouraging women to engage in personal Bible study. Elizabeth received an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in vocal music and now also spends time teaching a small private voice studio. Her husband, Conor, is the Associate Pastor of Worship at their church. They have two young sons, Caleb and Jack.