1Tim. 4:6 ¶ If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed.
1Tim. 4:7 Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness,
1Tim. 4:8 for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Here we find great instruction for our personal daily walk with Jesus Christ, if we truly desire to be a good servant. We are to be nourished on a regular basis. How long can we go without physical food? Not for too long and therefore we should not go too long without spiritual food. Just as the physical body needs to be regularly fed, so our spiritual lives must also be fed. But there is also spiritual discipline involved. Just as we must eat right, we must also exercise to keep our physical bodies fit. Spiritual exercise is just as necessary and must be just as intentional.
I really hate exercising! I'm good at finding excuses not to exercise in the morning and yet, if I don't it can have a rather ruinous effect on the entire day. If I skip my spiritual exercises the result can be the same. There is something about starting out my day in conversation with the Lord and spending time learning from the word that helps to prepare me for the day. The more difficult the day ahead, the more time I probably need to spend in preparation with him.
Today's scripture tells us that physical training is good and it is of some value. As wholistic beings we must recognize that our physical health is directly tied to our spiritual health. There has been a tendency to somehow divide the two and believe that as long as we care for ourselves spiritually we don't have to care for ourselves physically. This concept is catching up with Christianity -- when the rest of the world looks on and wonders why we don't maintain discipline when it comes to caring for the bodies God has given us. Physical training has some value for when we are healthy physically we are able to focus spiritually. St. Basil the Great went through a lengthy period of fasting and study out in the wilderness. At the end of that time he had physically damaged his body to the extent that he eventually died sooner than he should have. He and his brother went on to preach moderation throughout the remainder of their ministry, reminding their followers that they had to be healthy followers of Jesus Christ. Even extreme fasting was not encouraged.
But finally we are to live godly lives. This means we are to be imitators of Christ in all that we do for in imitating Christ we step into the continuum of this life which leads into the next for Christlikeness is the goal. So therefore, we are called upon to practice spiritual disciplines, feeding our minds, bodies and souls so that we can be the very best reflections of Jesus Christ in this world.
Lord, please help me to practice the discipline necessary to become a reflection of you. Amen.