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People who recite tales like old women

I have known many over the years who make a pastime of learning and sharing the spiritual stories of others. It's a cottage industry among some.

These people don't exercise as much effort in repenting as they do learning and sharing stories. They are always looking for a new opportunity to hear or tell a spiritual experience, rather than seeking to learn some new facet of the character of Christ, to better know and live his will in their lives. Nor have they first reconciled their whole life to everything they understand about Jesus.

These people uniformly share the belief that if they could just have this or that experience for themselves, they would arrive. Arrival mentality is a terrible thing to live in, for many reasons I don't have the time to presently explore here. In short, it is all backwards. Focus on the process, and the outcomes will take care of themselves. Find and live the causes, and the effects will take care of themselves.

This morning I happened across 1 Timothy 4, which reads as follows in the KJV:

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. (1 Timothy 4)

I believe this is a much better reflection Paul's intended points, in more understandable modern language:

7 But avoid serious supposed experiences that are lightly told, in the manner of the stories told by old women. Instead of learning and repeating the stories of others, train yourself by becoming more like God.
8 For while learning and repeating the stories of others will profit very little, becoming more like God will profit in all, as godliness is what is beneficial in all things, delineating the conditions of life here and hereafter.
9 This statement will prove true in all things, and is deserving of acceptance. (1 Timothy 4)

There is a purpose for testimony, but all testimony ought to have as its primary purpose to help others become more like Jesus Christ. Any story can provide entertainment or emotional excitement, but true testimony enables improvement. In this is a grand twin key: 

1 - True testimony bears fruit. Fruit contains seeds that reproduce what it came from. If you don't have similar experiences by following the improvements suggested by the experience, it not worth your time.  If it doesn't suggest personal improvements, it is definitely not worth your time.

2 - Even outside of manifesting your own experiences, which might require a process, true testimony will suggests changes to make in your life that will make you an obviously and immediately better person, independent of spiritual experiences. And this is the point and the actual greatest fruit! The wonder of God's wisdom is that it always yields obvious improvement that becomes obvious (see John 7:17).

If you are the kind of person who thrives on the spiritual experiences of others without attaching them to a model of how Christ is or changes you make in your own life to accord with that model, you are missing out on much better things that the Lord has made available to you.