“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8 NLT).


We are born with a body, yet physical training is necessary to build it up. Similarly, when we are born again, we are made alive spiritually, yet we are called to “work out” what God is “working in” us (see Phil. 2:12-13). Both the physical life and this new spiritual life are gifts from God. We cannot earn them. But just as physical exercise is good for the body, so we can yield ourselves to the Spirit’s work in us by disciplines that are good for our spiritual growth.

Just as there are physical disciplines that are good for the body, such as walking, running, weight-lifting, dieting, etc. So there are spiritual disciplines that are good for the soul, such as prayer, Bible-reading, fellowship, worship, giving, service, etc. Spiritual disciplines do not earn us favor with God or measure spiritual success. But they can be used by the Spirit to lead us into knowing Christ better and becoming more and more like Him. After all, both the words “disciple” and “discipline” come from the same root. The spiritual disciplines, when rightly understood, are meant to help us follow Jesus as His disciples.

Training the body is good for today. Training for godliness, so that we are growing more like Jesus, is better both for today and for tomorrow.

PRAYER: Dear Father, we yield ourselves to You afresh today. Transform our thinking so that we think about things as You do. Strengthen our hands that we might grow in serving You. Guide our feet that we might carry the gospel where it has yet to be heard. We want to work out what you are working in us. In Jesus’ name, amen.