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Exercising unto Godliness

Posted on March 28, 2023

We all know that exercising is a very good thing for health and body maintenance. Personally, I try to exercise several times a week. You probably do too. We know that this is important. However, the only time physical exercise is mentioned in the Bible, it is contrasted with another kind of exercise. Notice: “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things” (I Tim. 4:7-8a). 


Godliness simply means that we are like God. This doesn’t mean that we are sinless, but that we can share certain characteristics that God has. I would hope that you desire to be godly. This begs the question, how on earth do you exercise yourself unto godliness? Well, it’s similar to physical exercise, but it has to do with spiritual matters. Since this is exercise, it will take hard work. Here are several ways in which you can exercise unto godliness: 


Meditate on God’s Word


Psalm 1 describes the godly man. Notice verse 2: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” This man spends hours every day and night meditating (thinking, chewing) on the Word of God. Sadly, we rarely do that! We might think about God’s Word for a few moments in the morning, but the rest of the day is given to other things. It’s important that we spend more time thinking on God’s Word. After all, you will become what you think about (see Pro. 23:7). What things capture your thinking throughout the day? Are they godly things? Take the time to meditate more on God’s Word throughout your day. 


Show love and generosity to others


Love is a big part of the Christian life. Jesus said that love for one another would be a mark of His disciples (John 13:35). We are commanded to love God (Matt. 22:37), love our neighbor (Matt. 22:39), and even love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). So we cannot be godly if we do not show love to others. When someone in your life has a need, what do you do? Do you help them? Do you show them love by giving them your time, your attention, or even your money? If you find that you are selfish in regard to others, then you need to exercise yourself to this end. 


Memorize Scripture rather than secular things


Let’s be honest: we tend to memorize things without even trying. But when it comes to memorizing Scripture, we find it very difficult. You have to memorize Scripture intentionally. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” If you want godly thinking, then make the effort to memorize God’s Word. Fill your mind less with secular things, and fill it more with Scripture. You will find that the Holy Spirit will bring verses to your mind just when you need them. 


Give generously to God’s work


Tithing is a biblical principle. For those who think tithing was under the Law, let me remind you that Abraham gave tithes before the Law was ever written (see Gen. 14:18-20). If you’re not tithing through your local church, then you are robbing God (Mal. 3:8). Tithing every pay check you get is a godly habit, and God will bless you for it. But beyond that, learn to be generous with your money. Give to missions. Give to those who are in need. Give to charities if you want, but let me emphasize that God will bless you greatly if you give to His work. This may mean that you need to stop spending money on frivolous things so you can give more to the Lord’s work. 


Hand out tracts when out in the community


I think we would be shocked if we knew how few Christians handed out tracts. Most churches have tracts available, but people don’t use them! It’s wrong for Christians to mingle with the unsaved and never attempt to share the gospel with them. We are called to be salt and light (see Matt. 5:13-16), and handing out tracts is the easiest way to do that. Keep tracts with you at all times. Keep them in your car. When you’re at the store, or the gas station, just hand one to somebody. It’s so easy, and yet we often fail to do it. Be a witness in your community. 


Find ways to encourage the hurting 


If you see someone is hurting, don’t ignore them! Take the time to speak with them and find out what’s wrong. Sometimes they just need someone who will listen to what they have to say. Then try to encourage them. Pray with them. Do something for them. Jude tells us that compassion can make the difference (Jude 22). It takes a godly person to look around and actively seek out those who need encouragement. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want someone to encourage you? 


Well, that’s a start. It looks like you have some exercising to do. And truly, these are things that we have to work at. They don’t come naturally. What areas are you weak in? Don’t settle to be an average Christian—seek to be a strong one, a godly one, and God will be glorified in your life. 

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