“Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7b-8.
Paul, who authored Timothy and other books in the New Testament, understood the impact of obedience in forming a personal relationship with God. I love Paul’s description of true joy that comes through knowing Christ in his letter to the Philippians: “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” Philippians 1:21. Wow, what a testimony! Once Paul experienced the transforming power of Christ, his whole purpose was to become more like Him and boldly speak out on His behalf. Paul’s life became a living, breathing example of spiritual discipline.
Let’s face it, the word discipline sometimes suggests a negative connotation. Discipline often seems restrictive or requiring a lot of hard work. Spiritual discipline even sounds a bit more challenging! But if I take God’s directive in scripture at face value, I’m commanded to become more Christ-like. In the boardroom or on the playing field, almost all successful individuals attribute their success to self-discipline. Why would it be any different with godliness?
Dean of Theology and author, Donald S. Whitney, offers this perspective in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life: “I can say that I’ve never known a man or woman who came to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline.” I realize that godliness is a lifelong aspiration, but I’m taking on the challenge! Just as an athlete participates in personal training, I’m setting aside a few minutes each morning to learn from My Lord. Are you with me? If so, begin by carving out a specific time to journal, pray, or just relax in His presence.
Join me over the next few weeks as I exercise my mind in godliness through the guidance of Whitney’s book. Coming up next: “No spiritual discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word.”
Past Blogs: Prayer for the Purpose Godliness, Meditate on God’s Word, Discipline For the Purpose of Godliness, Discipline Requires Reading God's Word, Worship for the Purpose of Worship, & Evangelism for the Purpose of Godliness.