7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:7-10
The key phrase in this passage is “train yourself to be godly.” We educate ourselves about software, social skills, public speaking, management, social sciences, and other skills. We encourage our children to participate in sports. We ourselves go to the gym 2-4 times each week to stay in shape. We are training ourselves for a specific goal.
So then what does training ourselves to be godly mean? It mean taking the time every day to exercise our spiritual nature. It means spending time in the Word of God and getting the Word of God into you. It means praying. It means fellowshipping with other like-minded people. It’s asking close friends whether we’re exhibiting the fruit of the spirit in our lives. Then of course it means getting out in the world and getting our hands dirty a bit, sharing our faith, getting to know people.
Of course the training is never quite finished because we grow in Christ, and that growth is daily. We don’t see the results of studying the Bible until we get ourselves into a jam and then must rely on what we’ve been trained to do. We grow a little bit stronger every day, and the increments of change are tiny. But in the end, we will have trained ourselves to be godly.