“But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself towards godliness” – 1 Timothy 4:7 NKJV. 

Consider the elite athletes you admire: Usain Bolt in sprinting, Muhammad Ali in boxing, LeBron James in basketball, Serena Williams in tennis, Cristiano Ronaldo in football – the list is endless. 

What’s the common thread? Discipline, dedication, and relentless effort. They adhere to rigorous training, and diets, and avoid detrimental habits. They’ve done everything necessary to reach and stay at the pinnacle of their sports.

Believe it or not, as a believer, you are running a race; one with eternal relevance. And to run efficiently, you must respond to the race with reverence by training yourself and being as disciplined as these hall-of-fame athletes.  You must exercise yourself towards godliness. 

Apostle Paul puts it this way in 1 Timothy 4:8;  “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come.” 

Exercising yourself towards godliness will therefore mean putting structures of consecration in your walk with God. This will result in ridding yourself of old habits and behaviours. Jesus tells us why this is important in a parable in Matthew 9:14-17. In his words, “…no one puts new wine into old wineskins…” 

In Galatians 5, we see the contrast between fleshy desires and the fruits produced by the Holy Spirit. This points us to the fact that we need to yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as he nudges us to walk in godliness. Scripture therefore makes it clear that when we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 

Furthermore, just as sportsmen have strict routines, so should you. Your daily life should include habits that bring you closer to God. 

One important habit is prayer. Prayer is your communion and fellowship with God (1 John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 1:9). Since God is holy and, in fact, the definition of godliness, when you spend time with Him, you become more like Him. In prayer, you align yourself with His plan and do His will.  

Also, like athletes have strict diets, let the word of God be like food to you (Jeremiah 15: `16).  Carve out specific times in the day when we study the Word of God. By knowing God’s word, we know Him. His words instruct, direct, and teach us (1 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:105). The word of God is above every experience and thus should be our focus as we go about our daily routines.  

Some other routines to inculcate include regular fellowship with others, listening to sermons, fasting and evangelism. 

Dear believer, exercising yourself unto godliness will take discipline. But just like a true athlete with a prize to win, stay focused, adhere to your schedules, and yield to the Spirit. 

Bible Reading Plan:Matthew 20

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