What is godliness?
1 Timothy 4:8
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.
Observation – What does it say?
Paul is encouraging Timothy to remember what is most important. Within the group of Christ-followers Timothy was pastoring, there was obviously some people spreading some teachings that weren’t from God. Many were spending lots of time and energy studying and discussing things that didn’t really matter – genealogies, myths, old wives’ tales, etc. And most importantly, it was leading people astray from the gospel. The real value is in godliness. Here in this verse, Paul points out that nothing is more important. Even physical training, thought it has some value, it has to take a back seat to training in godliness.
Understanding – What does it mean?
Godliness. If godliness is what's most important, then I want to know what it means to be godly! This term in the original language was actually a borrowed term from the pagan culture. The understanding of being godly wasn’t that we imitate God’s character and work toward looking like him (although that certainly is part of following Jesus). Godliness, as they understood it in Paul's day, simply means “God aware.”
Paul’s command and encouragement is this: Don’t obsess over things that aren’t really that important. Above all, train yourself to be aware of God in every moment and situation! Train yourself to recognize that God is with you! Rather than meditating on the possibility of some godless myth being true, rather than spending time obsessing over the physique you’re working hard for at the gym, be consumed with an awareness of God. It's godliness that has value for all things!
I feel so convicted! How much of my day do I go through without a thought of God being with me? How much time and energy to I spend focusing on things that aren’t that important? Even this area of exercise can become a stumbling block if I’m not careful. I’ve been trying to go to the gym more regularly and just as I’ve been getting more consistent, I injured my shoulder yesterday. When I woke up really sore this morning an unable to move my arm without pain, I got much more frustrated than I should have that I wouldn’t be able to workout today. Do I get that upset when something keeps me from spending time with God? God is using this situation today to check my heart.
God, forgive me for obsessing over things that cause me to be distracted from you. Show me any other areas that cause me to be distracted from you. Help me to train myself to be God aware. I love you and want to enjoy your presence in every moment, not just in the time I set aside to spend with you each day. Amen.