Train Yourself to Be Godly—Part Two
I Timothy 4:7-16
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.8 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.9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
We talk a lot in the Christian circles that I grew up in about God’s grace. We focus on what God has done for us because of our need for forgiveness, our failure to live as God has desired for us to live. But I believe that our focus on grace can and in some instances has taken us in a bad direction. I used to scoff at the idea of being good, like trying to be good was bad. I mean we will not be good, so why try?! Well, that idea is nuts. We try to be good because it is good to be good. So, when Paul says here that we should train ourselves to be Godly that is actually what he means. And the reason for the training is that Godliness has great value, both in this life and in the life to come.
What does training for Godliness look like? Well, in Matthew 6 it looks like attention to the disciplines of giving, fasting and prayer. That is why Jesus focuses on those issues. They are the foundational issues of their day. And He deals with the abuses of substituting the pursuit of righteousness for the pursuit of good reputation with people. But that does not lessen the need for the discipline.
Here in this passage, Paul is encouraging Timothy to encourage the church to pursue Godliness through training.
- Set an Example with Your Conduct
- Being young does not prevent good behavior
It does not help you with life circumstances…
You may not have a seat in a conversation…
- Focus on faith, love and purity
(believing, loving and obeying)
(mind, emotions and will)
Do things that strengthen your faith
Do things that strengthen your love
Do things that strengthen your purity
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them,
- Be Devoted to Spirit and Scripture
- Scripture is a source of truth
How will we engage with scripture. We can read it. We can listen to it. We can watch it on youtube. We can discuss it with others. We can go to Bible Study. We can attend church. We can memorize it. We can teach it. But all of this is not the goal. The goal is to submit to the teaching of Scripture and what it says about how God has willed for us to live.
- The Spirit is a source of ability
Paul tells Timothy: “Do not neglect your gift”
Why would this happen? What is the purpose of a spiritual gift? They are gifts given by God to people for the purpose of ministering God’s grace to others.
I Peter 4: 7-11
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
We can grow in our ability to minister in our gifts. And there is a time and place for different responses. (last week’s conversation about bearing others burdens and carrying their own load)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
III. Disciplines of Engagement Will Help Us
- There are many disciplines of engagement
Study (this would incorporate all Bible based disciplines),
Remember the disciplines of abstinence:
We are engaging with Scripture. We are engaging with the Holy Spirit.
- These disciplines will complement Scripture and Spiritual gifts
Everything works together. Disciplines work together. Solitude, silence, study, worship and prayer= A quiet time with God. These actions prepare our mind and emotions so that we will submit our wills to the will of God and walk in faith love and obedience to Him.
- The goal is faith, love and obedience
Think about these in the negative. Or, what would your life be like if you were weak in faith, love and obedience? Now, who or what attacks your faith? Who or what attacks your love? Who or what attacks your obedience? Spiritual disciplines build up strength to fight.
Think about this: IN Eph 6 Paul talks about spiritual warfare: We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. Why would we feel the need to? Because people cause problems. If we aren’t gonna fight with people when they are challenging our faith, love and obedience, then where are we wrestling? The clue is in what comes next. We have spiritual armor, they are things that are true of us, except for the Bible. And we are told to put that on, which to me means we meditate on these things that are true. And then Paul says:
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me
Is the goal of the Christian life to pray? No. The goal is to love, believe and obey God. Prayer the primary way that we communicate and commune with God. And when we want to attack others, we can pray! This is actually what Paul says to Timothy back in chapter 2 about praying for those in authority over them.