Training for Godliness

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Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4

This year, I set a goal to run two 5K races and one 10K race. I started my training in April and ran a 5K in June. I did OK but wasn’t very happy with my performance. I then ran an 8K with some friends and did better. I was proud of what I was able to do. Currently, I am training for my first 10K and am following a program that has me running five days and about 20 total miles each week. I’m getting stronger and faster. I can see new muscles in my legs and even look forward to my runs—usually. I have never been one to love exercise, but something about running has me hooked. Maybe it’s the extended alone time. I love that I’m doing something that is good for my body and shows my children that it’s important to take care of myself.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul encourages us to take care of our physical bodies but with a caveat.

1 Timothy 4:8
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.

Did you catch the second part of the verse? Training for godliness is much better. It’s easy to train your body. You strap on your shoes or jump in a pool or put on a workout video, but how do you train for godliness? Paul provides Timothy with a list of ways to help develop this gift. One of the primary ways we train for godliness is through reading Scriptures⁠—both in the Old and New Testaments. Many balk at reading the Old Testament, thinking it was negated by Jesus, but remember that when Paul wrote this letter, the New Testament was not complete. He was telling Timothy to continue to study the Old Testament. When we know the entire Scripture, we are able to discern truth from error. Many in our current “Christian” culture are leading others away by omitting parts of the Bible or twisting verses to accommodate their own understanding of God’s inspired Word. Paul continues with a powerful encouragement to Timothy and us.

1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Training for godliness means we read the entire Bible. Training for godliness means we watch how we live: the media we consume, the words we say, our relationships with others. It means we carefully evaluate the words others are telling us, Christian or otherwise. It means being sure our doctrine—our set of beliefs—is biblically grounded. In doing this we will live a godly life and others will see and be drawn to Jesus through our lives.

Do you spend more time exercising your physical body than you do your spiritual muscles? When is the last time you read from the Old Testament? Are you intimidated by it?

Next Steps:
This week, read from Psalms and Proverbs. Allow God to speak to you through his entire inspired Word. Challenge yourself to read through the entire Bible in the next year or so.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of your Word. Thank you that we have both the Old and New Testaments as evidence of your love and provision for us. Give us a hunger to know more about you. Give us a burning desire to develop our spiritual muscles. Thank you for allowing us to come before you to learn and grow. Amen.

This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.

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