Blake Allen, Student and Outreach Minister, LHBC

1 Timothy 4:6-10
6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

After being married to a wife who can cook, becoming a snack partner with my two year old, discovering the wonderful creation of taco trucks, and befriending cream cheese, I can definitely say the dad bod is a real thing. It wasn’t until I jumped three pants sizes that I was ready to admit I’ve developed the dad bod. The only type of fitness I was doing was “fittin-this” delicious food in my mouth. And do I regret the tacos? Not at all. 

Still, I definitely recognize the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. Studies show that bodily training can be helpful in preventing some chronic conditions, developing discipline, and improving one’s overall quality of life. It is good for the present life. But what about the life to come? Is there any training that is beneficial in this present life and in eternity? 

Paul certainly believes there is such a training that exists! In 1 Timothy 4, Paul tells Timothy to combat any false teaching that is threatening the church. Apparently, there were some who were teaching contrary to the Gospel and deceiving others. How does Paul say to combat this? Through godly training! And this type of training produces godliness, protects others from going astray, and leads people to the truths of God’s word and to a salvific encounter with Jesus

Godly training first involves being a student of the word and of sound doctrine. For the apostle Paul, the only way to combat the lies of the false teachers was to know the truths of God’s word. The more we train ourselves up in the word of God, the better prepared we will be to recognize and combat false doctrine. Satan is constantly at work trying to lead us astray. He plants seeds of doubt. He reminds us of our failures. He is trying to win our affections. He distracts us from our primary mission. He uses false teachings that sound pleasing to the ear but brings forth death. He twisted the words of God and brought forth death through Adam and Eve. He feeds us lies and dresses them up as if they are truths to be had. The only way to recognize these lies is to know the truths taught in Scripture. The first step to living a life of godliness is to know what godliness is. This is found in the Word of God. 

Godly training also involves a regimen of godliness. Here is where we put into practice what we preach. God’s people are not only to be hearers of the word, but also doers of the word. We strive to live a godly life. This is reflected in our conduct and speech. A godly life also incorporates aspects of fellowship, the exercising of our spiritual gifts, and the participation in community (4:11-16). We are to be students of the word and practitioners of the word. 

Finally, godly training makes an eternal impact. Paul tells Timothy to continually practice being a student of the word and a practitioner of word. As a result, he will save himself and others. What Paul is not saying that we are saved by our works. For in Ephesians 2, he tells us that we are saved by grace through faith alone. But Paul is saying godly training will guard against chronic spiritual conditions including cancerous teachings, spiritual fatigue, faith failure, and sinful paralyzation. And by guarding himself, TImothy will be enabled to protect others and lead them to Christ. Furthermore, godly training in the word and a godly character is attractive to others. When you proclaim and live out the gospel, lost people are drawn to it. People come to faith by recognizing the wonders, majesty, and love of God. This is seen in creation, the word of God, and through God’s people. And when God’s people live for and display Him to the world, lost people get saved! An eternal impact is made! Are you starting to see the benefit of godly training?

Why do we exercise spiritually? Why do we strive and toil? Why do we set our hopes on the living God? Why do we do what we do as God’s people? 

Is it not to be the light of the world? Is it not to combat the lies leading people down paths that are destructive? Is it not to break chains and strongholds crippling our city? We serve a living God who is present here and now, ready to demolish strongholds! We must be ready, armed with the word of God, and living a life of godliness to bring the hope of Jesus to the lost, hurting, and broken-hearted. We must train today for tomorrow’s victories. It’s time to get in the game. 

Are you training? 

Dear Heavenly Father, strengthen me by your word. FIll me with the Spirit. Empower me today to lead a life of godliness so that I may lead others. Use me to make an eternal impact on someone’s life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

1 Corinthians 15:58
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.