July 14, 2023


To discipline means to train. The Greek word is “gymnasio,” from which we get “gymnasium.” We immediately associate this word with physical exercise, but the word has a far larger application. Paul warns his young disciple, Timothy, about the coming apostasy and what we must do to avoid it through a life of disciplined growth.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

Paul believed that the greatest discipline should be applied to the pursuit of godliness, i.e., to be like God. In Romans 8, he reminds us that God designs every circumstance of life to work together to conform us to the image of His Son. Our task is to aggressively cooperate.

What part of godliness are you missing the most? These are the places where we must train, cooperating with the promptings of God’s Spirit and the illumination of the Word.


If you joined a fitness center, they would ask you some intrusive questions about your physical health and habits. Take time right now, and evaluate your life with some vital training questions:

  • Where do I need spiritual development most? What muscles are the weakest?
  • Am I daily growing in my spiritual life by …
    • Renewing my mind daily through His Word?
    • Communing with Him unceasingly in prayer?
    • Humbly seeking to be filled and controlled by His Holy Spirit every moment?
    • Willingly obeying His slightest promptings?
    • Not quenching His Spirit as He seeks to lead me and use me?
    • Gladly embracing the path of sacrifice, substitution, and self-denial if it means giving life to others and glorifying the One who made me?
    • Constantly guarding against the foundational sin of pride?
    • Confessing my sins quickly before God and others so that I might “exercise myself to always maintain a clear conscience between God and man?”
    • Humbly and continually forgiving others, just as I have been forgiven?
    • Consistently gathering with His church, helping others, and being helped by others? Not forsaking the assembly of God’s people?


To grow physically, you must not only see and admit your weaknesses, but you must also develop a growth plan. A fitness center has multiple training machines, each designed to develop a different muscle group. God’s gymnasium has the same. Think of these training stations and through prayerful cooperation with God, commit yourself to spiritual workouts at each station.

Station 1: Renewing the mind daily through the study of His Word.

Station 2: Developing intimacy and power through unceasing prayer.

Station 3: Increasing spiritual muscle memory through instant obedience.

Station 4: Releasing God through reliance on and surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit.

Station 5: Increasing endurance and faith through the glad acceptance of trials, tests, and suffering.

Station 6: Building and multiplying His church and Kingdom by a life of being discipled and discipling others who will make disciples.

Station 7: Growing with others in the community of His church.

Station 8: Giving attention to godliness in all my relationships, particularly in my home.

Station 9: Living always for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God.

Station 10: … accepting any special training given by our Perfect Trainer!

A godly life is not produced overnight. It is developed one choice at a time every moment of the common day. Where does your training begin today?



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