I am sitting in a little sandwich shop in Shreveport, Louisiana called Tiger Bites. It is right across the street from LSUS. I am in Shreveport because she who must be obeyed is taking an exam for a certification in her nursing specialty. She is trying to improve her — and by extension the rest of the family’s — situation in life. This could improve her earning potential and it certainly looks good on a resume. Mostly, it is additional evidence that she is very good at what she does. It also continues to improve her standing among her employer, her co-workers, and her patients. This is valuable self-improvement.
When I finished high school, I went on to college. I was certainly smart enough for college, but I was a poorly disciplined student. I struggled to stay in college and finally just gave it up. For the past few years, I have wanted to finish my degree. I am finally following through on that dream. I am about a year and a half from finishing my degree. I am trying to improve myself.
More importantly, I think God is leading me to be involved in the ministry. I do not know yet exactly what that means. It likely means I will serve on a church staff in a pastoral role (probably not as the senior pastor). I’ll just have to wait and see. Not only am I pursuing a degree, it is a degree in religion. When I am finished with that, I want to proceed directly to seminary for a master’s degree.
In chapel this week, the visiting speaker was Dr. Donald Whitney from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. These were very compelling messages. He spoke from 1 Timothy 4:16. It says: “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
All believers, but especially those who minister, are instructed to live a godly lifestyle and true doctrine. But it does not stop there. It says to stay true. I think that means to keep doing those things and work to do them better. Become more godly. Continue to learn and to refine your doctrine. This is quality and biblical self-improvement.
These are some of the things we are doing in the name of self-improvement. How about you? What are you doing to continue to advance? For your own sake, the sake of your family, and for the growth of the kingdom, what are you doing?