Discipline: Train Yourself
to be Godly
What will it take in the Christian’s life to overcome
broken resolutions and commitments?
It will be a great benefit to realize that there is no such
thing as instant godliness. There are no “one minute,” thirty days, or “three
easy steps” to a life of righteousness that pleases God. That is not the way God
planned for our sanctification.
We are justified instantly by grace through faith in Jesus
Christ. But justification and sanctification are completely different.
We have spent a life time developing patterns of sinful
attitudes, thinking and behaviors. These habits will not be broken and replaced
with godly behavior and thinking without commitment and discipline.
The apostle Paul uses an athletic image to tell us we must
discipline ourselves to live godly. “Discipline yourself for the purpose of
godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). Why is it so important? The next verse tells us “it
holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” It has
immediate pay offs in this life, and eternal rewards.
Discipline is that determined effort on our part that
corrects, molds and perfects the character of a person. Holy character does not
come all at once, but over a lifetime.
This “discipline” is the training
that is needed for the unhindered pursuit of God’s will and purposes.
Discipline puts into daily practice our commitment to live
a godly life. It begins in the mind. “Be not conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God
is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
This inner transformation takes place as we memorize,
meditate, and put into daily practice the precious truths of the Bible.
Old sinful habits and patterns of behavior and
thinking are changed as we form new habits of obedience to the will of God. As
we put these new attitudes and behaviors into practice over a period of time we
form new patterns of thinking and behavior. It then becomes easier and easier to
live a life that is pleasing to God. We are responsible to put into action a
plan for daily Bible reading, study, prayer, etc. The Holy Spirit can then apply
to our inner person the Scriptures we have learned. I cease to be amazed how He
brings to my mind in time of need passages of Scripture or principles I have
learned in the past. He gives us inner strength as He applies His Word to our
daily life. We have to do our part by disciplining ourselves to study and
meditate on the Word of God. If you will not discipline yourself to get into
God’s Word you will not grow in Christ-likeness. No one else can do that for
Just as physical exercise is good for the body, the apostle
Paul tells us our mind, emotions, will and spiritual life needs vigorous
exercise as well. Just as the Greek athlete would discipline himself with
vigorous exercise in order to win the athletic games, we are exhorted to
exercise in such as way as to excel in godliness.
M. R. Vincent notes, “Godliness has promise for the present
life because it has promise of the life which is to come. Only the life
which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 1:1) is life indeed (1 Tim. 6:19).”
Are you training yourself toward the goal of true
godliness? “The reason why we toil and struggle so hard is that we have set our
hopes on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those
who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). That is what makes the effort on our part so
As we have stressed before, we live a life of obedience as
we yield to the presence of the Holy Spirit. We must daily know Jesus Christ
better if we are to grow in Christ-likeness. To know Him better we must feed our
minds and nourish our faith in Him.
Are you training your soul in holiness? Are you in a
determined pursuit of godliness in your own life?
When we keep in mind of the ultimate goal we realize the
pursuit is worthwhile.
Our goal is the pursuit of holiness. It is nothing less
than to be presented to God the Father whole and complete, perfect, in Jesus
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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