“Train yourself to be godly.” 1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
In his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg says, “Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely.” This is the thought behind what Paul told his young protégé, Timothy, in 1 Timothy 4:7. Some of the different translations help us to understand the difference between trying harder and training wisely:
• “Train yourself to be godly.” (NIV)
• “Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.” (LB)
• “Keep yourself in training for a godly life.” (GN)
• “Exercise daily in God – no spiritual flabbiness, please.” (MSG)
In physical exercise, you workout to develop your body, not to get a body. Spiritual workouts are similar. We don’t train ourselves to be godly in order to become a Christian. Your salvation was by grace, through faith in Christ. He did the work already. We can’t add anything to what Jesus already did. God has given you a new life; now, you are responsible to develop it. That means we must take our spiritual growth seriously. If we don’t exercise our faith, it will atrophy.
“Following Jesus simply means learning from Him how to arrange my life around activities that enable me to live in the fruit of the Spirit,” says Ortberg. When Jesus prayed for us in John 17, He asked the Father to “sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth.” (V. 17 NIV)
Then, in John 8:31,32 He told those who had believed on Him,
“If you continue in My Word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
An important spiritual exercise, then, is to read God’s Word daily. Not only does that activity demonstrate that we are His disciples, but it enables us to know the truth about our lives and our relationship to God so we may walk in freedom from guilt, fear, shame, and condemnation.
Reading God’s Word will build your faith muscles.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Wouldn’t you like to build your faith muscles? Spend some time in God’s Word everyday. Make it your divine appointment at “God’s Gym.” When you do, the Holy Spirit will accomplish the work of making you spiritually fit!
Thank you, Father for the gift of Your Word. I treasure it in my heart so I may not sin against You. As I get into Your Word, may it get into me and make me spiritually fit.