“…train yourself for godliness;” – 1 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
I enjoy a great musician. Especially a guitarist. I envy the ability to play the guitar with the freedom and passion that great guitarists do. However, I am not a great guitarist. The reason is a lack of discipline. Playing the guitar will mean learning totally new hand and finger movements, almost like learning to walk. You will need to strengthen hand muscles that you didn't even know existed, and on top of that, you'll have to learn very precise, coordinated finger movements as well. The only way to learn these movements, improve your hand muscle memory, and really progress at playing the guitar, is to practice regularly. That takes discipline. With about 10,000 hours of practice you’ll be able to play like Rodrigo y Gabriela. That’s a lot of discipline, but what fun it must be to play with that kind of freedom.
Many people long to be godly but lack the discipline to reach their desires. 1 Timothy 4:7 tells us to “train” ourselves to be godly. The word train means to exercise like an athlete trains himself to compete. God has given us certain disciplines that we must train ourselves in so that we can walk in godliness. Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship, evangelism, service, giving, and learning are all things that we should discipline ourselves to do if we are going to grow in godliness. While it is true that God has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us for righteousness, it is the Spirit’s words that instruct us to train ourselves. There is no automatic rout to godliness. You must start by disciplining yourself in the power of God’s Spirit to participate in the disciplines God has given us that lead to us being godly. Start today setting aside time to practice. Just like learning the guitar. Set aside an hour a day to spend in the Word and prayer. Out of that you can grow in the other disciplines until you walk in the freedom of godliness. No progress will be made without discipline.