One of life’s greatest needs

Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition. It will devise su … More

Discipline

When you hear the word discipline, what do you think of? Most of us think of correction or of being punished. Also, some think of the control gained by enforcing obedience or order on others. But, the word Paul uses here for discipline comes from the Greek word for “gymnasium” and “gymnastics.” It means to train or to exercise. This word conveys the idea of rigorous, strenuous, self-sacrificing training an athlete undergoes. In Paul’s day, physical fitness was the rage like it is today. No matter what Greek city you went to you would find a gymnasium and Ephesus was no exception. There was great emphasis in the Greek culture on physical training and in gaining glory from the winning of athletic events. Sound familiar? Today, we find the same emphasis on physical training and fitness.

Timothy was to channel God’s truth to others, he was to have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales (vv. 6-7). Paul introduced an athletic image with the words “exercise thyself “(v. 7). But Timothy’s training was to be for godliness, not physical fitness. As valuable as physical fitness may be , spiritual fitness, or godliness is much more valuable (v. 8). Physical fitness is profitable only “for a little, but godliness is profitable for all things,” not merely in this present life but in the life to come. To this end, said Paul, we labor and strive to develop the godliness (vv. 9-10). His hope was set, not on himself, some philosophy of life, other men, or nonexistent gods, but in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.  

Application

I need to know the Lord more deeply by learning how to live a more disciplined life in Christ. It isn’t so much the learning of new truths but simply putting into practice the truths I already know and this takes discipline.    

I Timothy 4:6-10 (English Standard Version)

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

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