Specific Text - 1 Tim 4:7-10
As we've read through Corinthians and Timothy these last couple of months, we've seen how often Paul uses the same couple of metaphors over and over again: The Christian life is like a battle, and the mental training required discipleship & sanctification - the process of becoming more and more like Christ - is much like the physical training an athlete undergoes.
The frequency with which Paul uses these metaphors reinforces their importance, and once again today we are reminded that being a disciple is just like a concept that we are very familiar with around here: being a championship caliber athlete. Paul writes, "Train yourself to be godly. (v7b)" We can learn two key things from this:
Being godly does not come naturally to you; you need to work for it.
Being godly does not float down to you from heaven through the Holy Spirit; you need to work for it.
An athlete runs, stretches, practices fundamentals, runs some more, and plays ball as much as possible. This is what God wants you to do as well. Read God's Word. Sing God's Word. Study God's Word. Read some more of God's Word. Come together with other Christians as much as possible to worship God and hear His Word. Day after day, week after week, year after year.
This is not easy. It will make you sweat, miss out on other opportunities, and will cause you to be exhausted at the end of each day & week... just like what physical training does to you. Paul describes it as "labor and striving (v10)". In other places in the Bible these words are translated as 'hard work, toil and strenuous activity.' It is also the same exact word that Jesus used in this famous verse:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
This is an awesome irony: the harder you work at becoming godly; the wearier you become in practicing your spiritual disciplines, the more your will experience Jesus' peace and rest.
Prayer For The Day: Dear God, thank you for calling me to be your disciple. Thank you for the talents and skills you've given me, and help me to work hard to use them to become a stronger and stronger disciple. Thank you for the promise of rest which you have given to me, and thank you that Sunday is coming in a few short days in which I can experience a taste of your rest. Amen.