Practice What You Preach

KEY VERSE: “Exercise thyself … unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” —I Timothy 4:7,8


IN TODAY’S LESSON we discover false teachers causing trouble in Ephesus, teaching a doctrine different from that which the Apostle Paul taught, and that led away from the faith. Paul counsels Timothy that Christ’s servants must practice godly living to be an example to others. Because one who is a son of God and a follower of the Savior is an ambassador for God, he has no time to make his own personal care his uppermost thought but must be about his Heavenly Father’s business. Such must show forth the praises of him who called him out of darkness into his marvelous light.—I Pet. 2:9

The effect of these new ambitions and hopes upon one’s physical health is often surprising, stimulating us to great zeal and activity in serving the Lord. Train yourself in godliness, says Paul, 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’. The new mind does not suggest carelessness of our body.

Timothy is urged to train—to exercise—himself in godliness. Intense practice is required if the body is to be developed for competition in the games. Likewise, one must approach spiritual development with the same intensity, the same consistency, because it is really much more important to train for the exercise of discipleship for so much depends upon it, not only in this life but also in the life to come.

Timothy’s mission is to bring instruction to the people. If the words of the faith have nourished his spirit, as food and water vitalize the body, surely they will nourish the members of the congregation as well. His instruction is to consist not only in the reading of the Scriptures, but it is to be followed by exhortation and preaching which explains or expounds on the text, and applies it to everyday life.

Of equal importance, Timothy was to take heed and pay close attention to himself, for we teach in our attitudes and behavior as well as in words. We are to be examples or models of the Gospel we preach. This was the course Paul recommended to Timothy: that he might keep himself pure from worldly contamination, and be an example and faithful minister to others, saying, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity. … Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”—I Tim. 4:12,15

In view of the knowledge of the wonderful day about to dawn, how then shall we live? The apostle says we are children of the day, and we are to show it. We are God’s representatives and ambassadors. We are to tell the people about the light and knowledge and glory of God that is soon to come and fill the whole earth. We are to help them contrast the present with the glorious conditions that will then exist, so all who love the light may take heed to the Word of God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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