1 Timothy 4:8-16
The value of godliness.
The apostle Paul writes in verse 9 of a “trustworthy saying” which he stated in verse 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.”
Do you do physical training? If not, you should! According to the science of health education we should all be doing a minimum of 3 sessions per week of exercise of at least 20-30 minutes each time. Why? Because it strengthens our heart and promotes optimal blood flow around the organs of the body, including the brain. It reduces our risks of diseases like diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure amongst many others. As Paul says, it is “of some value”.
“But godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”
Paul links physical training and godliness. They both require effort from us to attain goals. Paul writes to Timothy in verse 10 “that is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God”.
They require intention and action. Just talking about exercise or godliness is not going to make us physically or spiritually in good shape. Godliness is being faithful to our calling as a Christian. How do we take hold of godliness? In verse 12 Paul urges Timothy to set an example of godliness, “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Godliness is the outward display of what we believe. It is in our actions. If we claim to worship the God of love, is our speech and conduct loving? Do we show care and love to others? Do we serve others and minister into their lives in a way that encourages them towards Jesus?
Paul commends Timothy in verse 13 to continue in the public reading of the Scriptures, and to keep preaching and teaching. He wants Timothy to not neglect his gift.
Paul wants Timothy, and by implication us too, to put our full efforts into exercising our God-given gifts. He encourages Timothy to persevere. Why? Presumably because he knew he would come up against discouragement and opposition, even from within the church. In verse 12 Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him. Paul rates Timothy highly. But despite the esteem of this great Apostle of our faith, there were still people around who would discourage him. Many people give up. We need to persevere in using our gifts to minister to others.
Much of godliness is in our actions. How can you show you are a Christian in your actions today?
Suggested prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to set our hearts and our minds on You. Help us to wait on You, to be filled by Your Holy Spirit and for others to know we are Christians. May we proclaim Your love, and by our actions demonstrate Christ’s love through our lives. Amen.