Going to a gym every morning speaks of a person’s discipline. For most people, they would rather stay in bed a bit longer. The busyness of work and travel each day can be quite stressful. And often people neglect one of the most important assets of their life – their own health.
Gradually this is changing as people realise that, with our much more sedentary lifestyle and stress, unhealthy diets and a lack of proper sleep – only invites obesity and other physical ailments. They need to do something urgently to reverse this trend and keep them in good shape.
Apostle Paul realises this and he goes further to focus on our spiritual health along with physical fitness.
“Train yourself to be godly.
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.”
I Timothy 4:7b,8
Paul is writing to his spiritual son, Timothy - urging him to focus on ‘godliness’. Paul is borrowing this term from the realm of athletics. Train also means to “exercise” or “discipline” originally referred to the training of young athletes for participation in the competitive games of the day. These athletes had to undergo rigorous training in order to compete and win the medal.
What does this training require?
1. Determination – To be laser focussed on what they plan to achieve.
2. Discipline – To be willing to endure strict and consistent training.
3. Destination – Each athlete will have a certain goal in mind – perhaps a gold medal in badminton or tennis.
"If we stop exercising the spiritual man, the world will notice.”
Paul would urge Christians to be just as determined and energetic in training their inner man as some people are in training their physical bodies. We need to set realistic goals and progress on a daily basis. Take few minutes each day to read the Scriptures, to worship and pray. Live a holy life by keeping a check on areas you tend to slip and fall.
A famous violinist was asked how many hours a day he practised. The answer was a considerable number of hours each day. He was then asked what would happen if he stopped practicing. “If I do not practise for one day, I’ll know it” he said, “If I do not practise for two days, the conductor knows it; and if I do not practise for three days, everybody knows it”
Likewise, if we stop exercising the spiritual man, the world will notice. Godliness will not only benefit in this life but also in the world to come.