Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Training Ground

"...train yourselves to be godly."  1 Timothy 4:7

Godliness is not innate. It's not something I was born with. Not something I know how to do naturally. Romans 5:8 says, "...while we were still stinners, Christ died for us." I was born a sinner. To be godly is something God's Word says I must train myself to do. It is a matter of getting my priorities straight as a believer.

Verse 8 in this passage goes on to say, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." Ancient Greek and Roman cultures put great emphasis on physical exercise. But here, Paul is telling Timothy that believers should put that same emphasis, that same effort, into the pursuit of godliness and the Christian life.

The word "godliness" is said to have come from the old English word "Godlikeness". It means to have the attitude and character of God. David Guzik's commentary says, "This was a worthy goal, much more worthy than the potential attainments of physical exercise. Bodily exercise profits a little in that it has some value, while exercising unto godliness is good for all eternity." To grow both physically or spiritually require two things: exertion and proper feeding.

The difference is that godliness is profitable for the here and now, and forever. Godliness makes this earthly life better, and I "should not hesitate to believe it or to tell people this." (Guzik) It may not make life cushy or comfortable, but it will be the best Christ has to offer me, and the most fulfilling because it is His will for me.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "I assure you, and there are thousands of my bretheren who can affirm the same, that after having tried the ways of sin, we infinitely prefer the ways of righteousness for their own pleasure's sake even here, and we would not change with ungodly men even if we had to die like dogs. With all the sorrow and care which Christian life is supposed to bring, we would prefer it to any other form of life beneath the stars."

God's Word says that only godliness - not sin or sucess, fame or beauty, wealth or achievements - leads to eternal life and happiness. Happiness that comes from the peace and joy that the pursuit of godliness brings.

Father God, as I spend time at Your feet, in Your Word, meditating on Your Truths and applying them to my life, may it be a training ground for godliness. I want my life to be a reflection of You. In Jesus' name, amen.

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