Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe – 1 Timothy 4:7-10 (ESV, boldness added).
“Train yourself for godliness.” When is the last time someone actually said this to you? Or when was the last time that was on your list of things you needed to add to your self-discipline? We train for so many activities daily, but godliness rarely makes our lists. We train for our sport, we train in the gym, we train to cook, to teach, to speed read, to knit, to sew. We spend hours perfecting body formations, hand movements, feet positions, breathing rhythms, but do we actively train for godliness? Do many of us even know what it means to train for godliness anymore? Our speech, our conduct, our faith, our love, our purity – all are meant to reflect our Godly training, but too few of us even considering training for these a priority.
One by one our Christian ideals are slipping from our lives, slipping from our minds, and slipping from our hearts. Instead we are focusing on building our bodies, our minds, and our skills in earthly pastimes. Yes, bodily training is very important. The Bible calls us to be good stewards of our body. Having a good view toward our physical health, exercise, diet, sports, jobs, hobbies should remain a priority, but none of these are to trump our training in godliness.
Training in godliness should be our first priority, not last behind our physical training, our interests, our hobbies, our jobs. Our lives should revolve around becoming more like Christ. As Christians, we are to set the example to the world. We are to be the light. How can we if we have slacked off in our training? How can we lead others to Christ if we ourselves have not been diligently following Him?
Training in godliness requires discipline just like training for anything else does. It involves spending time in the Bible, it involves setting aside time to pray, it involves denying yourself some of the distractions this world would offer. If we are to be the examples, we must train. Our training should become part of our daily routine not something that is set aside for Sunday morning and forgotten until the next weekend rolls around.
Our commission from Christ was to be a light to the world. If we are truly going to be a Christian, if we are truly going to take his commission seriously, then we must train in godliness. You would never join a sports team and not practice before your games. You would never start taking piano and not practice before a recital. You would never start a job and not train for your position. Likewise, we should not take the Lord’s Word lightly. We are to train in godliness. We are to discipline ourselves.
We worry so much about our present physical body, but forget that this shell in which we live will pass away. All the sports we trained for, all the music we practiced, all the diets we tried will all be worthless if we do not train ourselves in godliness while we are on this earth. All of our earthly training is worthless on Judgement Day. Training in godliness is the only training that will matter both here on earth and in heaven.
Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. – 1 Timothy 4: 11-16 (ESV, boldness added).