Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 4.
In today’s chapter, Paul turned to address Timothy personally. After warning him about prophesies that some would abandon the faith (vv. 1-4), Paul spoke about the importance of tending to his own spiritual life (vv. 6-10). The key verse in this paragraph is verse 7b: “train yourself to be godly.” The word train is deliberately chosen from athletics. We see this in verse 8 which talks about the limited value of “physical training.” Godliness, therefore, is like working out in that it must be done consistently. You can go to the gym today and work out until you can’t walk but tomorrow you will see no difference in the mirror. If that’s all the training you do for this month, you won’t be any stronger or faster. But, if you work out regularly, you will build muscle. That will start to affect your appearance and you will be able to perform better athletically over all. So it is with godliness. If we become godly by “training ourselves,” we need to work on cultivating godliness regularly.
Some of you told me early on in these devotionals that this format has helped you build a Bible reading habit into your life. That’s great and it is exactly what I was trying to do. If you are going to keep growing stronger in your faith and in godliness, you need to keep reading scripture daily and also cultivate the habits of prayer, worshipping with our church family, and finding a place to serve. If you have established a Bible reading habit this year, keep going! See it through to the end of the year, then continue with another approach next year.
Reading God’s word is only one step in the process. Once we’ve been taught by the word, we need to do what the word commands us to do through obedience. This is how we learn to “be godly” (v. 7) not just aspire to godliness or know what it means to be godly.