Train Yourself for Godliness

The pursuit of godliness requires focus, sacrifice, commitment, and endurance. Paul knows that training is a perfect metaphor for Christian obedience—training “for godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7b). This kind of training has value for the present life and the life to come. In other words, there is an all-compassing value to this pursuit. Don’t you want to invest in what matters most? Don’t you want to give yourself—your time, your resources, your energy—to what is of surpassing value?

What goals do you have? Do you have aims for your job, your household, your personal life? Paul thinks you should have an overarching goal, and it’s the goal he wrote about to Timothy.

“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” (1 Tim. 4:7b–8).

Paul employs the metaphor of an athlete who is training to compete. And he recognizes that bodily training “is of some value.” There are bone and muscular benefits, there are mental health benefits, and there are organ and immune system benefits to regular exercise.

Why is bodily training of only “some value”? Because graveyards are filled with people who ate well and went regularly to the gym. Bodily training cannot defeat death. So while bodily training is of some value, it is not of ultimate value.

Bodily training involves focus, sacrifice, commitment, and endurance. Let’s think about each of these terms.

  • Focus—You need to know why you’re training. What’s the goal? Why are you putting yourself through the rigor of training? Do you have your eye on the prize?
  • Sacrifice—If you’re in training mode, you can’t live like those who aren’t training. Your mindset is different. You forgo what inhibits your training. You let your goal shape your behavior in the present. This behavior involves sacrifice—

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