Summary: “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (I Timothy 4:7b, 8)

“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (I Timothy 4:7b, 8)

Apostle Paul is writing to his spiritual son, Timothy - urging him to focus on ‘godliness’. Timothy was personally responsible for his progress in godliness. Train also means to “exercise” or “discipline” What does this training require? It requires...

1. Decisiveness.

2. Dedication

3. Discipline

4. Destination

Decisive means “having the power to decide; conclusive,” and “characterized by decision and firmness; resolute.” It has been said that decisiveness is “choosing to do what is right based on accurate facts, wise counsel, and clearly defined goals.” How can we make good decisions? First, we need to always put God and His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). Joshua reminded the people of Israel of the necessity of choosing sides concerning their worship, and he clearly stated his decision: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

On Mount Carmel, as the prophet Elijah confronted Ahab and the prophets of Baal, he addressed the fence-sitting, indecisive Israelites: “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’ But the people said nothing” (1 Kings 18:21). Jesus warned us that “no one can serve two masters” (Mathew 6:24). You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). Second, we need to have a thorough knowledge of the Word of God so that our decisions will be based on truth and not on personal interest and inclinations. We must always ask, “What does the Scripture say?” (Romans 4:3). Third, we need to seek wise counsel. Scripture says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Proverbs 12:15; cf. 11:14; 15:22; 19:20).

In God's kingdom and in His vocabulary “dedication” is an important feature. It is serious stuff to God, and it is serious stuff to God's people. A Christian is a saint and that means that he is one who is set apart. The Scriptures will teach us that God desires us to commit ourselves and our ways to Him ... our greatest success and joy comes only with a great commitment to Him! A committed dedicated life begins with a primary decision. If one chooses to dedicate his life to any field regardless of the field of endeavor a primary decision must be made. Joshua told the people of his day, " . . . Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell . . . And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey." (Joshua 24:15, 24) Finally, we need to keep clearly in view the destination we have in mind. “Decisiveness is focusing on our destination, rather than focusing on distractions.”

This “discipline” is the training that is needed for the unhindered pursuit of God’s will and purposes. Discipline puts into daily practice our commitment to live a godly life. It begins in the mind. “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).This inner transformation takes place as we memorize, meditate, and put into daily practice the precious truths of the Bible. We are justified instantly by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But justification and sanctification are completely different. We have spent a life time developing patterns of sinful attitudes, thinking and behaviors. These habits will not be broken and replaced with godly behavior and thinking without commitment and discipline.

Discipline is that determined effort on our part that corrects molds and perfects the character of a person. Holy character does not come all at once, but over a lifetime. Old sinful habits and patterns of behavior and thinking are changed as we form new habits of obedience to the will of God. As we put these new attitudes and behaviors into practice over a period of time we form new patterns of thinking and behavior. It then becomes easier and easier to live a life that is pleasing to God. We are responsible to put into action a plan for daily Bible reading, study, prayer, etc. The Holy Spirit can then apply to our inner person the Scriptures we have learned. We have to do our part by disciplining ourselves to study and meditate on the Word of God. If you will not discipline yourself to get into God’s Word you will not grow in Christ-likeness. No one else can do that for you.

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