TRAIN YOURSELF IN GODLINESS
Monday, 26 November 2018
1 Timothy 4 : 1-16
“……exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” -1Timothy 4:7-8
One of the strong themes of the Pastoral Epistles, godliness and godly living, finds its focus in our reading today. False teachers of Paul’s day, tended to be legalistic, focused on the observance of an external law. Jesus had a similar conflict with the Pharisees of His day, who sought to gain godliness through legalism. Their reasoning was that if they kept all the points of the law, they would be righteous people. The problem is that they were outwardly righteous but inwardly corrupt.
In instructing Timothy his spiritual son, Apostle Paul did not take for granted his godliness, though Timothy had been his companion and co-laborer for several years. Paul still felt it is necessary to write to him, “exercise yourself toward godliness.” In urging Timothy to train himself in godliness, Paul used a term from athletics—the verb variously translated as “exercise,” “discipline,” or “train.” Let’s look at a few principles in Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to train himself to be godly that are applicable for us today:
Firstly, it is a personal responsibility. Paul said, “Train yourself.” Timothy was personally responsible for his progress in godliness. He was not to leave that progress to the Lord and relax, though he certainly understood that any progress he made was only through God’s help. God does work in mysterious ways to make us godly, but He does not do this apart from us exercising our own personal responsibility. We are to train ourselves to be godly.
Secondly, the object of this training was the growth in Timothy’s personal spiritual life. Even though he was an experienced, well-qualified minister of Christ, Timothy still needed to continually grow in the essential areas of godliness – the fear of God, the understanding of the love of God, and the desire for the presence and fellowship of God. What are we training ourselves for? Are we training ourselves only in Christian activity, or are we training ourselves first and foremost in godliness?
Thirdly there is a “The Cost of Commitment.” We cannot become godly without the commitment to pay the price of a daily spiritual training which God has designed for us to grow in godliness. The concept of commitment is seen throughout the Bible. It is found in David’s cry to God, “earnestly I seek you” (Psalm 63:1). It is found in God’s promise to the captives in Babylon, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Hebrews 12:14 tells us: “Make every effort…to be holy.” None of these actions of seeking, pressing on, or making every effort will occur without a commitment on our part.
There is a price to godliness, but godliness is never on sale. It never comes to us easily. Paul was well aware of the total commitment those young athletes made to win a crown that would not last. There is an everlasting Crown for each believer who runs his race in godliness– “The godliness that has value for all things, both in the present life and the life to come.” Let us also make the kind of commitment which is necessary to train ourselves to be “godly” so that we too will one day receive the crown that will never fade away.
To act on:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance,
to perseverance godliness…”
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