Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweating to The Spiritual "Oldies"

"Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness..."
I Timothy  4:7

We can spend a great deal of time discussing, arguing, or wasting time being preoccupied with silly things. The Bible warns us in a number of places that the time we have in this life is very short compared with the "time" of eternity. We cannot afford to waste whatever time that we have been granted by God. Paul tells his long time friend and associate Timothy to avoid things that are have absolutely no value.

Paul doesn't just "take-away" or deny Timothy these things which could leave a void. Paul tells Timothy that he is to train himself in Godly living. This tells us two specific things, first, godliness doesn't come to us naturally. Secondly, we must work hard at godliness.

I remember when I was "shipped" to Marine Corps boot-camp to discover just how vigorous the training was to become a "Marine." Training began early in the morning and lasted throughout the day. For thirteen (13) weeks we had one agenda, that was to learn all that we needed to be considered a United States Marine. The training was difficult and demanded our full participation. 

The word that Paul uses for "train" is the Greek word that means to exercise or train vigorously. We get out English word "gymnasium" from this word. Paul has told Timothy to "gymnasticize." As a matter of fact the athletics would train naked in order not to be encumbered by any impediment, including clothing. 

Our context is dealing with godliness or godly living. The rigorous training that Timothy is to undergo is of a spiritual character or nature. By this comparison or analogy, Paul was telling Timothy to do at least three 3) things. These things are necessary to develop a godly lifestyle for Timothy and they are necessary to develop a godly lifestyle for you and me. They are as follows:

  • In the same way a young athlete in the gym fully exerts himself to the limit, so we, by God's grace are to exert ourselves to the limit in our development of godly living. We are to spare no effort in obtaining this goal.
  • In the same way a young athlete takes off every handicap or impediment, such as clothing, in order to train unencumbered, we too are to throw off any and all things that would impede us from obtaining this goal. Sometimes it is not the obvious and "evil" things that need to be thrown over, but often the very small things that can impede our development need to be cast aside.
  • In the same way that a young athlete has his eyes on the goal, we too should be constantly aiming at our spiritual goals. These goals are to include the means and manner of developing a godly lifestyle. I forget who said it but it is still very true, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."
You have heard it said, "No pain, no gain!" What are your spiritual goals? Where will you be training today? What exercises will occupy you and push you to your limit today? Are you willing to throw off every "handicap" and become "naked" to train unencumbered in this exercise toward godliness? Do it for Christ's sake!







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30 Days of Thanksgiving

I am thankful today for "Obedience from the Heart."
"Thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed."  (Romans 6:17, ESV)

4 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

What I am thankful for today is just being alive to write this.

Yvonne.

Scott said...

It's always amazed me that Paul tells Titus that grace "trains" us. (2:11-12) We always seem to see salvation and grace as largely passive things, when in reality it is the source of God's work in us to produce well trained, godly disciples. Thanks for the good word.

Brian Ray Todd said...

Busyness seems to be the largest and hardest encumberance to throw off, but mental devotion away from distractions and to the work of God to improve and grow as a Child of God (all that involves ie. study, service, prayer, et cetera) can and needs to be better. Sanctification is a process that takes a life-time, but we can slow it down if we do not stay focused and "in the race". Great reminder, and I needed it. Thank you.

Gregg said...

Yvonne - That is something to certainly be thankful for!

Scott - Too many times we think grace is passive. We are to be hard at work by the grace God has given us.

Brian Ray Todd - You are quite welcome for the reminder!