I TIMOTHY 4:7-9: “But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.” CSB
OBSERVATION: How much time do I give to exercising my spiritual life? If I created a pie chart of all the things that occupy my life, what would it look like? How big would the slice of pie be that is devoted to training myself in godliness?
Life is tough. It is filled with responsibilities, challenges, and demands. And, life is short. In the blink of an eye, the high-schooler that was walking down the isle to receive his diploma, is now making the last minute adjustments to his retirement plan. And, in the midst of all this, there is the concern for our health. Someone has said, you can have everything in life, but if you don’t have your health, you really have nothing.
So, our culture is unduly focused on health and appearance. There is always a new weight loss plan, or the next great exercise machine that will do it all in the comfort of your home. Creams, lotions, and miracle pills are marketed to allow one to maintain that youthful appearance. It seems there is a preoccupation with the external man, and a loss of focus on the spiritual man.
Recently, I came across a great quote. Someone said, “We always hear, life is short, do everything you can to enjoy it now! However, we should be saying, life is eternal, do everything you can to prepare for it now!” One has its focus on the clock that is running out. The other on the great expanse of what will be. Godliness focuses on the eternal. It recognizes that everything in this life is passing away.
- “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 CSB
Like many, I have lost some dear loved ones. I have said goodbye to my parents, and to one of my closest friends. Yet, all of them knew the Lord. They are not lost, they have simply passed over the bridge of life into eternity. This life is not short. It is the opportunity of preparing for the next life that has no end.
In reality, this life is no different than the 9 months we spent in our mother’s womb. During that time we focused on the development of our body. We really didn’t do anything. God did it all! And now, in this life, we are called to focus on the things that are eternal. To make godliness, becoming like Jesus Christ, our chief goal. It is not how many toys we have when we die that counts. Rather, it is how much we have become like Jesus.
When we focus on godliness, we receive two benefits. Paul told Timothy, “…but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Godliness, focusing on the development of our spiritual life, will do more to impact our health and well being in this life than any retirement plan, exercise machine, or miracle cream. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control will actually improve our health and give us a radiance in life that nothing else can!
Yes, we still need to be wise with our finances, plan for our retirement, eat well, and exercise. This is good stewardship of the gifts God has given us. However, we need to look at the pie chart of our life. The piece that represents our pursuit of godliness needs to grow. We need to spend more time in the Word of God, worship, prayer, and service in the Kingdom. In other words, we need to exercise the inner man on a daily basis!
I have seen many a person’s faith shipwrecked by misplaced priorities. They once had a promising and growing ministry. Pursuing godliness, they naturally came under attack. And, when they reallocated their devotion to the wrong areas of life, they quickly lost their zeal, and their spiritual life began to decline. The results have not been pretty. In the wake of these decisions are failed marriages, wounded children, and derailed ministries. This is exactly what the enemy wants!
The enemy cannot steal our soul once we belong to Jesus Christ. Therefore, he will try to steal everything else! His desire is to bankrupt us for the next life so that we enter into it – “…as through fire.” What is our greatest defense? It is the pursuit of godliness! It is keeping Jesus the center of our life! It is focusing on the inner man above all else!
Lord, help me to grow in godliness. Help me to become more like Jesus Christ. Direct my focus to heavenly things. Give me eyes that see the eternal, grace to pursue it, and faith to persevere.
- “For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.”
In Jesus Name!