Friday, August 31, 2018

Timothy, Workout in the Gym is Okay Lah, but a Godly Life is Fuyooh! (1 Timothy 4:7-9)

"Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it."
(1 Timothy 4:7-9, NLT)

There are some things that we as Christians shouldn't waste our time with. "Godless ideas and old wives' tales" mentioned here – or as Eugene Peterson paraphrased it, "Silly stories that get dressed up as religion" – are some of them. This reminder is similar to what Paul wrote earlier: "[Don't waste your] time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees." Why? Because "these things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don't help people live a life of faith in God" (1 Timothy 1:4). Once a fellow Christian told me about the world's governments ‘secret' to cover up the ‘fact' that the earth is flat! Then, a few days ago two of my friends talked with each other about The Illuminati and Freemasonry for hours. And have you received SMS or WhatsApp text that says something like this, "[Religious message] Forward this to 10 people and good things will happen to you"? All of these are silly and unprofitable conversations!

"Instead," reminds Paul to Timothy and every Christian who read this, "train yourself to be godly" or "exercise yourself toward godliness" (NKJV). The Greek word for "exercise" here is gumnazo, from which we get English word gymnasium. This is the place nowadays where people go for exercise and to get the body muscles in tone (although I prefer outdoor exercise. The world is my gym!). Paul continues to say that "physical training is good…" It is good! In my opinion, most Christian workers such as pastors and preachers today are often guilty of neglecting their physical health. Of course, there are those who, on the other hand, may overindulge in exercise until it also becomes a waste of time! What we need is discipline, balance, and moderation. If our bodies belong to God (read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), then we are responsible to keep them in good shape and make the best use of them. A healthy body will produce a healthy mind; health mind produces a healthy spirit.

Now, as important as bodily exercise is, there is something vastly more important. "…But training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come." The reason "exercise" toward godliness is so much more profitable than physical exercise is that the results are so much more lasting. Bodily exercise is profitable only for a short time or is of little extent when compared to spiritual exercise. Bodily exercise has a life-time value but spiritual exercise has an eternal value! Godliness not only will (surely) affects our lives here and now on earth but we shall reap the result of it in the rewards of eternity. H. A. Ironside notes, "No one will live a truly pious life who neglects the means which God has given to us for this purpose. We have the Word of God; we need to study our Bibles. And we need to take much time for prayer. Then we must be faithful in testifying to those who are unsaved. To honor God in these things is to be exercised unto godliness." To be godly is to be God-like; to be God-like is to be like Christ. This you must "exercise" daily!

Paul concludes his encouragement by emphasizing its trustworthiness and it should be received and considered by Timothy – by us - seriously. "This is trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it." What Paul had just said is very important and either Timothy (or you) received it or not, it IS true and worth accepting. It is like Jesus when He said, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." Amen.

You may exercise at least three times a week,
or at least you know that it is important for your health.
But do you exercise spiritually regularly?
Do you see it as more important?

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