The Best Exercise

William C. Brownson

Read: 1 Timothy 4:6-10

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 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. (vv. 7-8)

I’m glad the apostle told Timothy that bodily exercise is “of some value.” Being a sports and fitness enthusiast myself, I would be disappointed if he had said less. But I’m even more pleased that he said more, that he reserved the highest praise for training in “godliness.” That has value, Paul says, not only in keeping you fit in this world, but also in preparing you for the next.

What is it to train ourselves for godliness? It surely involves some of the same desire, commitment, and effort we devote to athletic disciplines. I like to think of godliness as a reverent awareness of the Lord, and a devotion to him and his purposes. Paul believes this happens as we are “trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed” (v. 6). We condition ourselves for that by internalizing the Scriptures, by cultivating a life of prayer, by turning away from all that displeases God, and making it our steady aim to please him. Most of all, we train ourselves in godliness by keeping our eyes on Christ, and being led by the Spirit. Paul is saying, “Timothy, keep yourself in shape for the Lord’s service!” —Bill Brownson

As you pray, ask God to help you develop the spiritual disciplines that lead to true godliness.