Summary: Train yourself to be godly. This ought to be life's purpose, pursuit, passion and preoccupation. Love is the true indicator of godliness. Training (spiritual disciplines) is the means to growing in Christlikeness.
How to make the most of your walk with God? Answer: TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE GODLY.
• Get into training. Training (practices) helps you become more like Christ.
• If training helps us excel in the things we commit to, then spiritual training (disciplines) will help us be LIKE Christ.
• This is the best investment you can make with your life - commit yourself to a set of practices that can grow you into someone who reflect the beauty of Jesus Christ in thoughts, words, attitudes and deeds.
Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim 4:7-8
“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.”
(1) GODLINESS IS OUR LIFE’S GOAL
Don’t waste time with godless myths and old wives’ tales, Paul tells Timothy.
• Some things aren’t worth our time and energy.
• Invest your time wisely – train yourself to be godly - godliness (or Christ-likeness) is eternally valuable.
Everyone wants a better life, but our goal is the godly life - the life that models after Christ, one that fulfils the will of God.
• King Solomon has what the world calls the better life, but he wasn’t fulfilled.
• He has wealth, status, fame, and even wisdom (that no one can match). Yet the wisest man on earth (cf. 2 Chron 1:11-12) says in Ecclesiastes that these are all meaningless and pointless.
• “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.” He says. (Eccl 12:13) That alone satisfies.
2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
• Through His power, God has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness.
• He saves us to live like Christ. Godliness is not only a goal; it is a possible, achievable goal for anyone in Christ. Say: I CAN BE LIKE CHRIST!
God wants to TRANSFORM us into the likeness of His Son.
• His great concern is not just to inform us about Himself. That’s knowledge.
• His concern is not to get us to conform to some rules. That’s religion.
• Jesus came to change us. God saves us by His grace and transforms us.
Godliness is our goal. It must be our life’s purpose, our life’s pursuit, our life’s passion and the preoccupation of our life.
• Nothing really matters if we fail to live like Christ. We are not winning the prize.
• Any other quests in life will mean that I’m settling for something less than the best.
What then is godliness? To put it in practical terms, it is LOVE.
(2) LOVE IS THE TRUE INDICATOR OF GODLINESS
Listen to what Jesus, Paul and John says.
• Matt 22:37-40 "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbour as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
• 1 Cor 13:1-2 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, [very spiritual] but have not love, I am nothing.”
• 1 John 4:7-8 “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
We are called to LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE.
• Godliness is not being spiritual, it is to being loving. To be godly is to have a love for God and love for people!
• In the parable, Jesus says the Samaritan man got it, but not the priest and Levite.
• Spirituality has nothing to do with your knowledge of the Word (priest) or your service in the church (Levite). The true indicator of a godly person is love.
The question to ask is: Do I love God more today? Do I love people more today?
(3) TRAINING IS THE MEANS TO GODLINESS
If we can grow in love with God and with people without any training (discipline, practice), so be it and let’s drop these practices.
• But we cannot. Nothing we excel in today comes to us naturally. We learn them, we work at it, and we train to do them well.
• Even in relationships – in any relationship, we need to work at it. We need to invest time, energy and sometimes even money into it.