Daily Readings and Thought for November 22nd. “Train yourself for godliness”
We constantly see and hear reference to athletes and other sportsmen being in training for such as the recent Commonwealth Games. For many, it is something they do daily, especially just before a competition, to build up their muscles or other skills, to bring them to peak performance. During our lifetime we have seen new records being set again and again, as humans run, cycle or swim faster and faster. We thought of this as we read Paul’s advice to Timothy, “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 that is to come” [1 Tim.4 v.8] Read over that verse again and fully get Paul’s point! How much effort do we put into training for godliness? How do you do it?
Some will answer ‘by reading the Bible every day’ True, but how do you read? God’s word is food for the mind, it needs to be chewed over and its full meaning absorbed – and then put into practice. The race we are running – is the race of life. How much do we skim over it? It is so easy to do – and we do not notice spiritual malnutrition nearly so quickly and easily as physical malnutrition when we run out of energy and our muscles ache. Paul also told Timothy, “be a good servant of Jesus Christ being trained in the words of faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed”[v.6]
Athletes compare their abilities with each other, but that could, in a spiritual context be like comparing “lukewarm” attitudes. Our comparison should be with men like Titus and Timothy or women like Mary and Dorcas.
Finally, and most importantly, the “race” we are running is one in which we help each other, to help each other receive the prize. Isaiah made this point, “Everyone helps his neighbour and says to his brother, ‘Be strong’” [41 v.6] Paul wrote that “athletes do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” [1 Cor.9 v.25]