‘…train yourself to be godly.’ 1 Timothy 4.7
This is such an encouraging phrase because it makes the immediate point that we are not godly already! All too often we can beat ourselves up with the memory of our failures, of how we think we ought to be a much better Christian or how poorly we fare in comparison with others. Discouragement and a sense of failure can so easily follow. So Paul’s encouragement is to ‘train yourself’.
None of us would wander into a gym for the first time, put the running machine onto the fastest setting and feel a failure if we couldn’t keep it up for an hour; nor would we select the heaviest weights in the building and walk out in disgust if we couldn’t lift them up 100 times! The sensible approach is to start at a lower level and reach a certain level of competence before progressing steadily to new challenges. Just as we train ourselves in fitness, or in any number of other areas, so we are encouraged to train ourselves to be godly.
An excellent way of doing this is to spend a few minutes reflecting on the past day – where did you get things wrong and where did you see God at work? In the light of this, where do you need his grace today so as not to repeat the mistakes of yesterday? This is not just introspection but a process of honestly opening yourself up to the touch of God and letting him change you for today.