Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, 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.1 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV
There are many things in this world that distract me from the pursuit of godliness. Some of those things are clearly sinful. But others are pretty morally neutral. I enjoy watching professional football, although I am not overly passionate about it. And I do not believe that there is anything inherently wrong with it. The problem comes when it keeps me from doing something I should be doing instead. Like training in godliness.
Vines dictionary defines godliness as “being devote, denoting the piety which, characterized by a Godward focus, does that which is pleasing to Him.” To be godly involves keeping my focus on God, and seeking to do what is pleasing to him. But godliness doesn’t just happen. Paul tells Timothy to train himself to be godly. It takes work. And it requires that I let go of things that would hinder that training.
Many good things have value in this life. I run and do some light exercise in order to maintain some level of fitness. And that is good. But it is only valuable so long as I live in this tent of flesh. And the same is true for many other activities I do. But training in godliness is unlike any of them. no matter how many miles I run or hike in this life it has no value in the life to come. But godliness does. Godliness trains not just my physical body, but my spirit as well. And that training will have value for eternity. That makes training in godliness even more important. It is training that will make a lasting difference, even after this tent I dwell in is destroyed.
Training in godliness involves prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship. But it also involves choosing to make good decisions in my life. Choosing to do what pleases God rather than self. Working to develop a more intimate relationship with Christ. Living in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s direction. Training is hard, and it involves self-sacrifice. But it is well worth it in the long run.