Friday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 4:6-10

Train Yourself for Godliness

What is it that Paul wants young Timothy to do above all else?  The answer lies in verse seven: “Train yourself for godliness.”  Indeed, this is every Christian’s first concern.  It is due to the neglect of such training that we will hear of a pastor’s fall from grace for some indiscretion.  On a larger scale, it is the carelessness or even desertion of godliness by God’s people that leads unbelievers to turn away from God.  All the witnessing in the world, good Bible teaching, solid preaching, tithing, and good deeds done here and there will never make up for lives that do not seek after God, that conform to the world rather than being transformed to the life of Christ, that sin in secret and wear masks in public.  And do note that one must “train” for godliness as an athlete trains for his sport.  Christian disciplines such a Bible reading, prayer, worshiping with God’s people, doing good needs, giving of our selves—all of these and more are ways we train for godliness.  But even all of these must come from a heart panting for God; otherwise, they are just empty rituals.  Still, our hearts won’t be right if we don’t commit to these disciplines.  Hearts which are right with God do these disciplines, and these disciplines help keep hearts right with God.  To sum, growing in grace, in godliness, is not an option for the Christian; indeed, lack of such growth is counter-evidence of one’s profession of being a Christian.

The Apostle wants Timothy to “put these things before the brothers.”  What things?  The things Paul has been writing about in this letter.  And he wants Timothy to understand that he must both preach these things and LIVE them.  He reminds Timothy that “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.”  This might be a reference to the false teachers who emphasized a more ascetic lifestyle denying marriage and certain foods.  At any rate, such advice is certainly something Christians in American need to hear who often fixate on their bodies and mirrors.  Eating right and exercising are important, but not as important as taking care of one’s soul.  Check your motives and priorities when walking into the fitness center.  Our bodies will eventually fail us; let us see to it that our souls do not. 

Our God is indeed the Savior of all people.  He sends the rain on the just and unjust and showers blessings on everyone.  No one will be able to stand before Him and complain when the Day comes.  But our God is Savior in a special way of those who believe.  They shall have neither anything to complain of nor boast over.  They will say, “It is all of grace.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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