1 Timothy 4:7-8
“But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
If you are like me you have probably seen a great number of motivational quotes posted on your Facebook wall. Things like “Pain is only weakness leaving the body” – “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – “It’s never too late to become what you might have been. – Or “just do it” While many of us might benefit from a little more exercise ALL of us will benefit from a little more godliness. Paul is not suggesting the getting in better physical shape is a bad thing, but is contrasting it with the benefits of being in better spiritual shape. He speaks of the profitability of godliness.
Godliness is a term that means to be living in a way that is well pleasing to the Lord. The godly man is one that is not considering his personal happiness, comfort, or his own wishes as the determining factor in decision making. Instead he is making decisions based upon what God has revealed in His Word. Often when faced with a conflict, an impasse or a fork in the road we are tempted to make our decisions solely based upon our own desires. That will often lead us away from what God has for us. The godly man will look into the Word to determine what God has to say on the subject and make decisions that will ultimately be well pleasing in the Lord’s eyes. Paul speaks here of the great benefits of living life like that.
First he says that godliness benefits us in this life. Many of the trials, pains and scars that we endure are self inflicted. They have been caused by getting off track and doing things our way instead of God’s way. If we trace some of our difficulties back to their source we will find that they started with a decision to do what I wanted instead of submitting to God’s Word. It is wonderful to know that God can always pick up the pieces of a broken life and do great things with it. We need only think of Legion, the naked, demon possessed man who lived in the tombs to see that God can always repair a shattered life that is surrendered to Him. But it is also important to remember that much of the hardship of life can be avoided by surrendering all to Christ and determining to live in line with His Word.
Secondly he says that godliness has great benefits in the life to come. While much of what heaven will be like is still shrouded in darkness we do know that entrance into heaven is reserved for those who have trusted Christ for salvation. Jesus said that He alone was the way and that no one can come to the Father except through Him. We also know that while entrance into heaven is a free gift received by faith that treasures are stored in heaven for those who live committed to Christ. Paul spoke of crowns that were awaiting the righteous. I do not pretend to know all the mysteries of heaven, but I do trust the words of Christ who exhorted us to live this life in a way to be rewarded in the next.
Let’s be sure to commit ourselves to a daily exercise program that includes reading the Word, doing what it says, prayer, fellowship with other believers and looking for ways to serve the Lord.