“Bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).
Godliness should be the believer’s priority in life.
I’m amazed at how devoted people can be to what they believe is important. There are many people outside Christianity who live in rigid conformity to a lot of meaningless rules. People in totalitarian countries, for example, live in rigid conformity to rules predicated on a denial of biblical truth. They walk circumspectly and toe the mark.
Some cultists are so rigid and walk so circumspectly according to the principles dictated to them that if they’re told they can’t get married or can’t be with their spouses, they conform. They’re made to live in abstinence from physical relationships, follow strict diets, fast, and so on. Some attempt to attain spirituality through such self-disciplined acts as lying on a bed of nails or walking through hot coals.
Others, such as athletes, go through tremendous self-discipline through dieting, running, weight training, and other means that involve great sacrifice.
People disciplined in things that are ultimately meaningless may be lax in things that count. I know people who run three miles every day but will not bother to read the Bible regularly. I know other people who cannot discipline themselves to feed on the Word of God but stick rigorously to a diet. Many Christians worship physical fitness and health and are so conformed to the world’s system that they’re careless and lazy about conforming to Christ.
If you are a wise Christian, you’ll be sure to discipline yourself for godliness. You’ll know what pleases God, watch for Satan’s traps, resist the Devil, defeat temptation, and be selective about your behavior. In other words, you’ll not walk as a fool; you’ll walk in wisdom—living by God’s standards.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank God for His Son, the perfect example of spiritual discipline and godliness. Ask God to help you be like Him.
For Further Study
• According to 1 Timothy 4:7, what is the purpose of spiritual discipline?
• According to 2 Peter 1:3, what has God’s divine power granted us?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187