"Godliness If Profitable For All Things"
1 Timothy 4:8 "For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life 1and also the life to come."
The value of godliness, that is what Paul was wanting us to see in this passage. The word, "godliness" appears nine times in the book of first Timothy, more than any other N.T. book. Being godly carries the idea of being like "God," God-ly.
In our verse today, Paul compares the value of godliness to exercise, as the King James states it, or bodily discipline. There is value in taking care of yourself. Eating right, exercising, warding off diseases, not only makes one feel better, but it makes them able to do things. There is value or profit in those areas. But Paul reminds us that the value or profit is "little." It isn't great. A healthy body can still belong to someone with a sick mind. A strong body can belong to someone who has a weak soul or a calloused conscience. Fitness is in. Eating well and eating right is in. The nutritional value of what we put in our mouths is listed on every product, even bottles of water. We watch what we eat because too much sugar and too many carbs are not good for us. Our obese times reflect that.
Yet, of greater value is how we take care of our souls. Being godly is a choice. Just as we must decide between ordering water or a soft drink, we must decide and choose to "be like God," or, not. Exercise has some value, in some areas and in some ways, but godliness is profitable for all things. Being godly will affect my mind. It will affect what words I choose to say. It will affect what I look at on the internet. It will affect whether or not I "like" something on Facebook. It will affect my habits. It will shape my circle of friends. It will factor into what shows I watch on TV. My total being is influenced and directed by my decision to be godly.
Not only does godliness influence my insides but it directs my today and my eternity. The present life and also the life to come are influenced by godliness. This is where physical exercise is limited. Generations ago, folks weren't so concerned about eating well and exercising. Many remember grandma cooking with lard, bacon grease and drinking water out of the creek. Having a strong mind is not based upon having a strong body. Being godly will lead a person to make the right choices. It will cause a person to apologize when he is wrong. It will extend the hand of forgiveness when wronged. Godliness is wrapped in compassion, kindness and gentleness. The godly one is one who will help others. The godly one is not selfish nor only interested in himself.
How does one become "godly?"
First, it's a choice. It's not that some just came that way and others didn't. Godliness is found in Christ Jesus. Faith in Christ is where it all begins. It's hard to be godly when one's character is wrong. So with godliness, one will find righteousness, the quality of being "right" before God. To be godly, therefore, one must be a Christian. Anyone can be generous, but that alone, does not make them godly. A person may like a foundation or an organization and donate simply because they believe in it or had a good memory of it. That act is nice, but it does not mean that the giver is godly in character. To be godly, one must be a Christian. You can't be like God and not be in Christ.
Second, godliness comes from watching and imitating the characteristics of Jesus. Godliness is what a person is. It's in their spiritual DNA. To be godly, one is godly. To be godly, one does godly things. Their mind thinks godly thoughts. They see Jesus caring, helping and being a servant. So, the child of God, will do the same. He will share with others. He will help others. He will do what he can to help others, especially the kingdom of God. The more time spent with Jesus in the word, the more one becomes like Jesus. Godliness is a process. It doesn't happen naturally nor automatically. The old self, the old man, must be crucified. A new person or a new self now dwells within us. It's not easy. We must fight the old ways and the old feelings. "I don't feel like it," comes up. "Do I have to," will be asked. What is right conquers what I feel. Doing what God wants pushes a person to do the godly things.
Thirdly, godliness is something that becomes a part of us and is noticed by others. In every church there are certain people that stand out. They are the ones who go out of their way. They remind us of Jesus. They are godly. They generate a feeling to be like them. Their goodness rubs off. They are not stuffy, too good nor uppity with others. Humble yet helpful. Kind without being stuck on themselves. Generous. Thoughtful. Prayerful. Thankful. Being around godly folks makes us more spiritual. They remind us of what we are missing in our lives. They show the value of being a Christian. They open our eyes to see that Christians are the best people on the face of the earth.
Are all Christians godly? No. They should be, but some are not. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul said that he could not write to them as spiritual men but as carnal, or worldly. The carnal mind and a godly heart are not found in the same person. That's water and oil- they simply do not mix. Either the carnal will take over or else the godly will change that worldly mind.
Can you be godly? Certainly. God wants you to be that way. It will change this day and it will change your eternity. How do I know if I am godly or not? Read your Bible. Are you like Jesus? Not sinless. Not perfect. But godly.
It seems from our verse, that Paul is driving at a person putting more emphasis upon the spiritual than the physical. Exercise has it's place, but it has limited value. Godliness has great value for now and for later. Therefore, we ought to put more effort and more attention into being godly. We watch what we eat, do we watch what we feed our souls? Are we reading a bunch of poison on the internet? We make sure we get our steps in each day, do we make sure that we get our souls get connected to God each day? I wonder what it would be like to have a "spiritual" Fitbit? Taking care of your body may extend your life here, but you will still one day die. It is appointed unto man to die once, Hebrews tells us. So, we extend our lives here, eat well, feel good, and still spend forever away from God in Hell. What value is that? It is more important to take care of your soul. Feed it. Exercise it. Live with Christ. That not only will shape today, but it will insure your eternal home with God.
Godliness-great value here. Put your energies into being godly.