Are you one of those people who really enjoys working out, or is it something you have to motivate yourself to go do? No matter which one you are, we can all agree there’s a huge payoff when a workout is done. Your body is tired, sure, but the endorphins have kicked in and you feel healthier and stronger.
In the same way we have to train our bodies, we also have to train our minds and hearts to focus on the things of God. “Train yourself for godliness,” as 1 Timothy 4:7 tells us. Paul uses his letters to Timothy to encourage him in his faith and remind him of his role as a carrier of the gospel. In verse 8 he says: “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.” The time we spend focusing our hearts and minds on God will not only affect us, but it will affect those around us. It’s doesn’t just matter for today; it matters for eternity.
Let’s think about other big changes we see in life. You don’t go from point A to B easily when you work on any transformation—training for a marathon, growing as a couple in a marriage, or raising a child to understand the rules of your home (or even potty train!). It all takes time, but it’s possible. Sanctification is a process. Don’t get discouraged. Get disciplined.
Later in this study, we are going to talk about some practical ways to train yourself in godliness, but before we get there, consider what’s keeping you from growing. Is your schedule too overwhelming, so you don’t spend time with God? Is your mind so full of other things that you forget to talk to God? Is your Bible the last book in your reading pile? While all these things don’t need to become just another line item on your to-do list, addressing them can help you find real ways to connect with the God who is waiting for you. He’s way more concerned with your heart and character than your checklist, so don’t make it about achieving something. He just wants time with you. In fact, your time with him, growing in him, will be more effective than any goal on earth you may succeed at.
Not many people like the word discipline, but we’ve got to find some. In a world of constant notifications and on-the-spot gratification, are we willing to let the Holy Spirit do the work of changing our hearts? No matter the timeline, the result is always Jesus. In the end, you always get Jesus. And every minute with him is good for your soul. It’s what you were created for.