A few years ago, my husband decided we all needed to start exercising—every family member—and so it began. We bought P90x3 DVDs, set up our garage, and made the grueling 90-day check list. Like all good intentions begin in January, so did we.
After the first few days of workouts, my muscles hurt in ways I had never experienced. I remember raising both of my arms in an animated dinner conversation with my family only to realize I couldn’t lower them. My arms were in shock. My whole body was in shock. I felt utterly exhausted every day. Surprisingly though with time, I actually started feeling good and seeing muscle tone. Pay-off had finally come!
We are told in 1 Timothy 4:7 to “train yourself for godliness” and that “it is of value in every way.” Oftentimes, I don’t think we process fully in our minds how godliness is achieved or experienced. I think many times we picture ourselves being “that person” later, perhaps in our more mature days, or we will do it where “all good intentions begin in January”—which never usually come.
How do we train ourselves for godliness? Just like an athlete, we practice it (1 Tim. 4:15). An athlete comes up with a plan for each muscle group in different ways. So, that’s what we do for training in godliness. We come up with a plan for our mouth, for how we act, for how we love, for how we trust God in faith, for how we live out purity in different scenarios. Yes, a plan for your words or lack of them. Then, you practice that plan when different scenarios arise in your day. Then, with time, as you strive for godliness and you are practicing these things, you will see spiritual muscle tone--becoming more like Christ and more godly.
Don’t let godliness be that thing on your well-intentioned and never achieved January list of hope to-dos, but like Paul, let’s “toil and strive” for real, authentic godliness in our lives. Take time to come up with how you will practice godliness. Keep practicing. When you are tempted to do things your old, sinful way, resist and practice. The more you practice right words and right responses, the more you will be trained in godliness to do the right thing.