1 Timothy 4:8 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.
I spend several hours a week in the gym, where I sweat and sometimes bleed for my workout. I genuinely enjoy exercise and find that it is not difficult to be motivated to do it. Though I know exercise is good for me, life rarely requires me to lift a weighted barbell off the floor.
Paul, in today’s passage, said that while my physical training is of some value, spiritual training is of ultimate value. Just as I would never run a marathon without months of training, I should not try to do life without preparing myself spiritually, yet I frequently attempt this. I spend hours at the gym but have a hard time praying for a half an hour. I will go for a three-mile run yet struggle to spend three minutes in meditation.
Paul said I must be devoted to God’s word, immersing myself in it. Like an athlete preparing for a physical challenge, I must continually develop my faith for the trials of life. If I find myself overwhelmed by life’s stressors, it is probably a good indication that I have not been growing my faith in preparation for those stressors.
For what am I training? Life is a battle but not one in which I am frequently called upon to do pull-ups. Am I spending my time and effort on that which is ultimately most important in life?
If I expend all of my life’s energies on me, when I need faith, I will not magically find it. Paul insisted that just as an athlete trains physically every day, I must train spiritually every day.
What if I spent as much time and effort on my spiritual strength as I did on my physical strength? If I want faith and if I want to know God, I must daily grow my spiritual life.