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Discipline

The apostle Paul told Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness and said that bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things because it holds promise for the present life and the life to come. (1 Tm 4:7b-8)

I have spent my entire life disciplining my physical body. For this reason, at the age of 50, I can go out on a hot summer day and run 7 1/2 miles in less than an hour. Yet the apostle Paul says that this is of little profit.

Some have cast aside physical exercise all together and use statements like these to justify their laziness. Keep in mind, he did not say of no profit but of little profit because the spiritual disciplines are of greater value. My physical exercise is of benefit for this life only but godliness is of value here and in the resurrection to come.

I have a confession to make: I am a timid man. Yet the apostle told Timothy in 2 Tm 1:7 that God has not given us a spirit of timidity. My timidity causes me to be ineffective in love for others and in discipline because not all of the spiritual disciplines are private, many of the spiritual disciplines are done together alongside of other believers.

Timidity is translated into English from the Greek word deilia δειλία which literally means cowardice.1 The word can also be translated fearfulness because it is derived from the root deos δέος which means fear or fright. This type of fear is not the same as reverence (eulabeia εὐλάβεια) and is never used in a good since.2 In the upper room discourse, Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (deilia δειλία).” (Jn 14:27b, NASB95)

I have been afraid of other people my entire life and I realize that this is sin because Christ gives us a command not be fearful and the apostle Paul tells us that timidity is not from God. My fear causes me to not seek the best for my neighbor and hampers my fellowship with other believers.

I believe that Christ has paid the price for my sins; therefore, I am justified in the eyes of God, my position is one of righteousness but I am not actually righteous. I have hope in the resurrection of my body at the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when all who hope in him are glorified.

I do not know what your personal struggle is, but I do know that if you have been called by God you struggle with sin. I have physically disciplined my body since I was a child but I am now seeking spiritual discipline which must be done in a body of believers. Our pastor at Sylvania Church says that the christian life is one of repentance from sin, belief in the gospel, perseverance and overcoming sin.

Whatever your sin is, I hope that this message will lead you to repent, believe, preserve and overcome until the day of our Lord’s coming.

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1 NASB Strong’s Dictionary, g1167.
2 Vines Complete Expository Dictionary, Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness.
3 Phillip Dancy,https://www.sylvaniachurch.com/staff-and-elders/.

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