How can we train ourselves for godliness? – Part 2

We don’t get saved one day, and wake up the next godly. We must train ourselves for godliness. But how? Maybe you are new to this. Maybe you aren’t a seasoned gym rat who knows exactly what exercises to do and how to do them. But you see the value of growing in godliness and you are willing to put in effort. Maybe that’s you. And you are sitting their wondering, how do I do this? Where do I start? Let’s spend a few minutes talking about that.

How Do We Train Ourselves for Godliness?

(1) We shouldn’t waste our time on godless myths, old wives tales, and conspiracy theories

Writing to Timothy Paul says,

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;” (1 Ti 4:7)

There are a lot of things out there that are promoted as spiritual. Think about:

  • Horoscopes
  • Psychics
  • Ouija Boards

All these claim to have a connection to the spiritual world. But God is not in them. It’s Satan who’s behind these things. Knowing that, we as Christians, shouldn’t mess with or explore them.

Another thing we shouldn’t get caught up in is things like the Bible code. If you haven’t heard anything about the Bible code, it basically deals with a made up numbering system that’s supposed to reveal to us hidden knowledge in the Bible. I say made up because there is no hidden knowledge in Bible. God has plainly revealed everything that we need to know. So we shouldn’t waste our time with ideas like that. It doesn’t promote godliness.

Another thing we shouldn’t spend a lot time with is End Times speculations. I know that it is popular to try to figure out dates and ordering of events. When or if Israel is going to build a Temple. Or even if they have all the stuff to do it. But if we are honest with ourselves, none of that stuff really helps us to grow in godliness. It’s all speculation and a big waste of time, a distraction.

We know the end is coming. We have a general idea of what is going to happen. That’s really all we need. So instead of focusing on speculative theories, we need to focus on those things that can be known now. They are what’s going to help us grow, so they need to be our focus.

One last thing I’ll mention that we shouldn’t focus on is conspiracy theories. They are abundant, can pull us in, and even divide us from those we are supposed to love. If we want to grow in godliness, we need to avoid conspiracy theories.

You see, as Christians, we can’t allow godless, idle chatter to take up the majority of our time. We only have so much of it. And if you think about it, the Bible itself is a huge book with enough content to keep us busy for a lifetime. So instead of focusing on this other stuff that has no value for promoting growth in godliness, we should focus on God’s Word. It is what is going to grow us in our Christian life, which is what we as Christians should be after.

That’s not just coming from me. That is what God is telling us through His Word. That is what verse 7 is all about.

So instead of wasting our time with godless myths, old wives tales, and conspiracy theories,

(2) We should constantly feed on the Word of God  

Paul tells Timothy to do just that in verse 6, when he says,

“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.” (1 Ti 4:6)

To me the NASB gets across the point of the phrase “being trained in the words of the faith” better when it translates it as “constantly nourished on the words of the faith.” That tells us, then, that Paul is telling Timothy that he must consistently feed or nourish himself with the truths of the gospel and God’s Word in order to sustain his faith, his commitment to Christ, and his spiritual energy and enthusiasm.

You see, these godless silly myths won’t do that for us. Only God’s Word will sustain and grow us. They are Satan’s tools of distraction. Instead we must feed on the Word.

The idea of feeding on the gospel and God’s Word should resonate with us. In order for us to survive and go about our daily tasks, we have to constantly feed our bodies. If we don’t eat, we won’t have any energy. Eventually, we will waste away and die.

Just as our physical life must be sustained by food, our spiritual life must be sustained by the food of God’s Word. We have to constantly feed on it in order to provide ourselves with the spiritual nourishment necessary to sustain and grow our spiritual life.

So if we are getting in to things that are taking us away from God’s Word or are just dealing with speculative theories that no one can really know is true or not, we need to forsake those things. And return to the meat of God’s Word, so that we will be nourished and can continue to grow in godliness. We must be a people who constantly feed on the Word of God. It must be a consistent part of our daily diet.

Looking Forward

Next time, I will provide some practical ways we can consistently feed on God’s Word.

Question for Reflection?

  1. What are some other ways we can train ourselves for godliness?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon: How Can We Train Ourselves for Godliness?

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How can we train ourselves for godliness? – Part 1

One of my first jobs right out of college was at a company by the name of Cbeyond. They were a telecommunications company that sold Voiceover IP services. Unlike other companies, they didn’t just throw you to the wolves the first day. I mean, eventually, you were thrown to the wolves, but before that happened they put me through a rigorous training program.

My first two weeks on the job, I did nothing but learn about the company and the products they sold. As well as I did a lot of role playing, running through different scenarios they expected us to face in the field. You see, I didn’t just get hired and wake up the next day an excellent salesman for Cbeyond. I had to be trained.

That is the same with godliness. We don’t get saved one day, and wake up the next godly.

We Must Train Ourselves for Godliness

This is what Paul urges Timothy to do, to train himself for godliness. In verses 7 and 8 of 1 Timothy 4 Paul says,

“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.” (1 Ti 4:7–8)

When Paul tells Timothy to train himself for godliness, he’s not telling him to neglect his body.

The Body Isn’t Bad

As Christians, we don’t believe that the body is bad while the spirit is good. We believe both are good. After all, God is going to resurrect our physical bodies when Jesus returns, make them new, and we will live in those glorified bodies for all eternity. So our bodies aren’t bad. They aren’t to be neglected. We should do all that we can to take care of our bodies. God has given them to us to steward, so we should steward them well. Which means we should watch what we eat, exercise, listen to our doctors, and take our medication.

Don’t Make Your Body an Idol

But while stewarding our bodies is important, it can’t be all that we do. We aren’t to make an idol out of our bodies. They shouldn’t become something we worship.

Focus on the Spiritual Life

We must also, as Paul tells us, focus on our spiritual life. In fact, it seems our spiritual life should be our primary focus because it will not only pay dividends in the future, but now as well. So we should do as Paul tells us — we should train ourselves for godliness.

What does it mean to train ourselves for godliness? 

Training is something we should all be familiar with. It’s an exercise term. Many of us, at least at some point in our lives, have trained for something.

Last year I trained for a 5k. Not to be able to run it, I run 3 miles all the time, but to run it at a certain pace. Hitting the pace I had set for myself wasn’t going to happen over night. It knew it would take time for my legs, heart, and breathing to get stronger. So I spent several months stressing my body and teaching myself to run more efficiently. I’m happy to say I hit my target pace. But that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been training.

So training, then, is an act by which we develop a certain skill or behavior through regular practice, activity, and instruction.

Godliness Associated with Training

The other word Paul associates with training is godliness. Godliness simply means that we have a deep respect for and devotion to God. So when we say someone is godly, what we are saying is that they are a person who is devoted to and is living for God.

Putting It All Together

Putting this altogether, we learn that:

Training ourselves for godliness means that we are constantly working to grow in our devotion, respect, and desire for God.

We don’t get to that point over night, nor do we ever reach a point where we believe ourselves to be godly and stop training. It takes a lot of continued time, effort, and work that plays out over a lifetime. But it’s worth it. So we should make it a point to enter into God’s gym daily training ourselves for godliness.

Looking Forward

Next time, I will provide some practical ways we can train ourselves for godliness.

Question for Reflection?

  1. Are you training for godliness?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon: How Can We Train Ourselves for Godliness?

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Why Do We Read the Bible?

In Joshua 1:8 God speaking to Joshua says,

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Jos 1:8)

Joshua highlights one of the main reasons we are to read and meditate on the Bible — “so that [we] may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” As much as the Bible is an intellectual exercise, intellectual knowledge shouldn’t be the main reason we read the Bible.

Instead, one of the main reasons we are to read the Bible is so that we can live according to God’s will and bring Him glory.

Our Benefit

As you can see, there is a benefit in living according to God’s will. It allows us to be prosperous and successful. Apart from popular opinion, God is not out to punish us or to take the fun out of life. God wants us to flourish. He wants us to be successful. If we live according to God’s Word, more often than not that’s going to happen. Not necessarily in a health and wealth gospel type of way, but in a real biblical since we will be prosperous and successful.

Warning

But, I have to warn you, as you make reading, meditating, and seeking to live according to the Bible a practice in your life, you will find that: The Bible, at times, will provide the encouragement you need to keep doing what you are doing. However, at other times, you are going to find that the Bible will call you to think and live differently.

No Surprise – The Bible Will Disagree with Us

The Bible calling us to live and think differently shouldn’t be a surprise to us. When you study 2 Timothy 3, you learn that the Bible is useful for:

  • Teaching
  • Reproving
  • Correcting
  • Training in righteousness

When we come to the Bible, then, we should not only expect it to encourage and teach us, but we should also expect it to disagree with us from time to time. If you think about it, that has to be true — the Bible has to disagree with us if it’s going to teach, reprove, correct, and train us so that we mature in Christ and live as God would have us live. Honestly, if you find that God’s Word never disagrees with how you are living or thinking, you can be sure that you aren’t reading and applying it correctly.

Why Things Need to Change

The way we live and think must change because we are a people who have been deeply affected by sin. It has corrupted our mind so that we live and think in a way that’s unhelpful, that doesn’t produce human flourishing. So we need God to come in and correct and teach us so that we can live in a way that not only pleases and brings Him glory but also causes us to flourish as humans.

Question for Reflection

  1. How has the Bible disagreed with you this week?

Resources

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Post developed from my sermon What should we do with the Bible?