In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul exhorts Timothy to train in godliness. That’s a good plan for our lives. Not only is it scriptural, but it is also a necessity in the life of a disciple of Jesus. What better way to spend our days than training in godliness? Each of us devotes our lives to something. We all know what that is for us. It’s where we spend our time, energy, and money.
And if we aren’t spending those resources on learning more about God and doing the things He commands us to do, what’s the point? What is the measure of our life? But if we spend our resources to train in godliness, we will live a life worth living. We will hear God say to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
So, what does it mean to train in godliness? It sounds good, but how do we do this in our lives? Fortunately, Paul did not leave us guessing. He follows up his exhortation to train in godliness with some practical instruction. The first thing we need to do is study the Word of God (1 Timothy 4:13). Paul told Timothy to always be reading, teaching, and encouraging with the Word. We can’t teach what we don’t know, so we must be people of the Book, just as those in the early church were known. I can’t think of many better things to be called than a man of the Book!
Once we are studying the Bible regularly, the next step in our training is to practice what we are learning (1 Timothy 4:15). Again, Paul was writing specifically to Timothy to encourage him in his ministry, but these principles apply to us all. Not only should we practice what we learn from studying God’s Word, but we must be committed to what we learn. Head knowledge isn’t good enough. The Word of God needs to become such a part of us that living it out is second nature. It should be obvious to those around us we not only embrace the teachings of Jesus, but we embody them.
As we train in godliness, we will become examples in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12). We will set the example for other believers to follow. Being able to set the example proves we are growing in maturity in our faith. That’s exactly what Paul meant when he said our progress should be obvious to others (1 Timothy 4:15).
To train in godliness is the duty of every disciple. It’s not a burden. It is doing what Jesus told us to do. When we train in godliness, we grow closer to God, become students of His Word, and set the example for younger believers to follow. We prove we love the Lord (John 14:15), and that we’ve put aside the things of this world. His burden is very light. Following Jesus is not cumbersome, but it does require selflessness and sacrifice. Those are the exact qualities Christ modeled for us. It’s not too much to ask. Train in godliness and fulfill the mission God has given to you.