Summary: Percentage of American’s who own running shoes but don’t run: 87% Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness for it is profitable for all things, not only in this life but also in the life to come. (I Tim 4:7,8)
How to Discipline Yourself for Godliness (I Tim 4:7,8)
The Lord gives wisdom, love and eternal life that transcends human understanding (Prov. 3:5,6)
The closer we are to the Shepherd the farther away is the wolf.
Many people are willing to discipline themselves to be more beautiful, to get a promotion or to avoid punishment from a superior. However, discipline done for selfish reasons usually leaves one empty. Paul wrote, "Discipline yourself to be Godly. 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." (I Timothy 4:7,8)
Illustration: Careless Living
We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically ;has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician’s instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not “disciplined”?
A. S. Tozer in Men Who Met God
Let us discover some of the basic processes that will facilitate training for Godliness.
1. Focus your emotional, mental and spiritual energies on following Jesus Christ in all areas of life. (Heb. 12:1,2) In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Illustration: Godly Mothers
Many godly men of the past have been richly blessed by what they learned from their mothers. Consider the biblical characters Moses, Samuel, and Timothy. The maternal influence experienced by these spiritual leaders bore rich fruit in their lives. Think too of men like Augustine, John Newton, and the zealous Wesley brothers. Their names would probably never have lighted the pages of history if it hadn’t been for the godly women who raised them in homes where the law of love and a Christian witness were their daily guide and inspiration.
Susannah Wesley, for example, spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America. Here are a few rules she followed in training her children:
(1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul.
(2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.
(3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely.
(4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed
(5) Commend and reward good behavior.
(6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.”
Let us honor our godly mothers today, not only with words of praise, but with lives that reflect the impact of their holy influence! - H.G.B.
Our Daily Bread, May 8
2. Jesus provides us with the perfect reason for living. He satisfies our longing soul and fills our hungry mind with what is good. No other friend is as reliable as the Lord Jesus. When we are weak, He becomes our strength; when we are perplexed, He provides the answers for any problem; when we are overwhelmed, He shows us grace that is sufficient for any circumstance; when we are lacking commitment, He provides us with the inspiration to wholeheartedly serve the Lord with sincerity and truth; when we are discouraged, He gives us great hope, power and love.
3. Begin every day and task with prayer and study of the scripture to learn God’s will for every hour. Ask the Lord for the wisdom, knowledge and insight to discern more of the wisdom will of our heavenly Father. If you keep on asking, keep on seeking and keeping on knocking on doors, God will provide you with whatever you need! (Matthew 7:7)
4. Associate with other disciplined Godly people who can teach you by their example how to be more like Jesus. "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.
5. Do not take criticisms, failures or problems personally. Many people allow obstacles to get to them emotionally.
Illustration: When John Henry Jowett was pastor at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, he began a series of children’s meetings. At the very first meeting, four boys with penny whistles upset the meeting by playing tunes while Jowett was speaking. An usher rounded up the boys and took them to the vestry where they faced Jowett. “Can’t you fellows play tin whistles any better than that?” Jowett asked. “If you can’t, I shall have to get Mrs. Jowett to give you some lessons.”