"But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exerciseth profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (I. Timothy 4:7-8)
One of the greatest truths in the Bible that we as Christians need to learn is that "Godly Christians" are not born, they are made. They are made just like everything else in this world; through hard word, diligence, and dedication.
In order to excel in godliness we must be completely dedicated to the exercise of godliness. We must be prepared to work hard, be disciplined, and be willing to change. Without a total one hundred percent dedication, we won't be able to exce in godliness.
This is the truth that Paul is conveying in the above passage. The word Paul uses for "exercise" comes from the Greek word from which we get our words for "gymnasium" and "gymnastics" and means "to train or exercise." This word "exercise" conveys the idea of the rigorous, strenuous, and self-sacrificing training that an athlete undergoes to prepare themselves to compete in an athletic event.
Just as any athlete must practice a rigorous, strenuous, self-sacrificing, training program to prepare themselves to compete, even so, must Christians practice a rigorous, strenuous, and self-sacrificing training in order to prepare themselves unto godliness. Godliness is the result of dedication and discipline. One author wrote: "No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, and disciplined."
Harry Browne wrote: "Everything you want in life has a price connected to it. There's a price to pay if you want to make things better, a price to pay for leaving things as they are, a price for everything." Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the high road to godliness because nothing is ever achieved in the Christian life without discipline.
If you will give yourself to disciplining yourself in godliness, your life will be richly blessed. You will grow in spiritual maturity, contentment, intimacy with God, being useful in the service of God, in faith, in God's provisions and care, and also the eternal rewards that you will receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The benefits you will receive from exercising yourself unto godliness through self-discipline are without measure and what you have to sacrifice is small in comparison to what you will receive.
I want to challenge you to exercise yourself unto godliness.
Pastor Allen Jackson