The Greek text of 1 Timothy 4.7 reads: “Avoid profane and old wives tales. But train yourselves in godliness.”
The New Revised Standard Version is kinder to older women and translates the passage, “Have nothing to do with profane and foolish tales. Train yourself in godliness.”
Old women, who spent their days in a shop with other women weaving cloth, are not the only people who gossip and spread common, worldly ideas.
If you engage in social media of any time, you will be well acquainted with worthless information.
Scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and your mind will be filled with profane and foolish ideas. Engage in gossip or coarse jokes at work and you will spread emptiness or worse.
Instead of participating in destructive and worthless talk, we should train ourselves in godliness.
Paul counseled Timothy: “Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4.7b-8).
Rudy Ross has a rowing machine at his home. Every day for six days a week, he spends a specific number of minutes rowing. I work out at the gym seven days a week. Both of us are trying to keep our old bodies in shape.
There is value in physical training, but there is greater value in training for godliness. Everything we do that helps us live a Jesus-kind-of-life is what is meant by “training for godliness.”
Dallas Willard and VIM
Dallas Willard writes about the difference between “training” and “trying.”
For years, I wanted to bench press 315 pounds, but never got beyond 250. All of the “trying” in the world didn’t make the 315-pound goal achievable.
When I was 55, I worked with a trainer for four months. He showed me techniques and pushed my endurance beyond previous efforts. At the end of four months, I reached the goal of a 315-pound bench press.
Where trying didn’t accomplish the goal, the training made the difference.
If we desire to live a Jesus-kind-of-life, it takes more than trying; we need to train for it. Willard uses the acrostic VIM to help us remember the training process.
V – Vision – We must have a vision of what it living a Jesus-kind-of-life looks like.
The best way to gain this vision is a regular training regimen of reading the Gospels.
I recommend reading a chapter or a portion of a chapter of one of the Gospels each day. If you talk to Jesus about what you read, it will deepen your insights into his life.
I – Intention – We may learn about Jesus’ actions and attitudes, but if we don’t intend to follow his leadership, we won’t live like him.
Isaiah highlights the role of intentionality.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land. (Isaiah 1.19)
Willingness speaks to having the intention to be obedient.
Once we get a vision of a Jesus-kind-of-life, we intend and engage our will to follow his example.
M – Means – Like the gym and a trainer were used to strengthen my body, the Bible, prayer, and obedience are the means to living a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Daily reading the Bible and talking to God about what we have read is a foundation for training in godliness.
Doing the “next right thing” as led by the Holy Spirit will develop spiritual muscles that grow us into living a Jesus-kind-of-life.
If you don’t have a regular training regimen for living a Jesus-kind-of-life, please try what I have written today.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.