“But godliness with contentment is great gain,”( 1 Timothy 6:6)
“Discipline yourself to be Godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (I Timothy 4:7,8)
The very reason for creation, the purpose for which God made us and the most complete life, is found in the life of godliness. “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” In the passage before Paul makes it clear that some have used the pursuit of godliness in order to find some sort of material gain. Paul mentions that these people are “conceited and understand nothing” (v. 4). Paul wants Timothy to know that the continual pursuit and acquisition of godliness is only of gain when accompanied with contentment. When the pursuit of godliness is done for the end result of being more holy and useful for work in God’s kingdom and not for sordid gain then and only then will it be of any use to the pursuer The Greek word for godliness is eusebia which also means wholeness. G.K. Chesterton said, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to accumulate more; the other is to desire less.” Ray Steadman defined contentment: “Contentment is not having all that you want. True contentment is wanting only what you have.” Contentment is a right relationship with God; and even if we have nothing else but food and clothing, we have everything needed for a life that is fulfilling and satisfying. Jesus said that: “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15b). That verse also leads us to the understanding that acquired things cannot make us eternally happy. There is more to life than what we have accumulated. If we put our value into our treasures on earth, we will miss our Treasure in heaven.
A person may almost be known by the books he reads. The Holy Bible is the light that shines the image of Christ upon the soul. The way of the Bible is the way of God, and is therefore the true path of life. There is no such thing as instant godliness. We are justified instantly by grace through faith in Christ. But justification and sanctification are completely different. Godliness is the work of the Holy Spirit by the Word. It actually lifts man into the image of God. In Godliness, we become God-like and God-filled. The Bible is a Holy Book from Genesis to Revelation and every standard set in Scripture is the joy of transformed saints. Godly women or men will separate themselves from activities that are declared off limits by the Holy Bible.
God wants us to have more than an intellectual understanding of the principles of His kingdom and more than a mere awareness of His existence. His desire for man is that he might enter into a very personal and intimate relationship with Him. If you are born of God, if God has planted in you divine life, which, in theology is called regeneration. If there has been a birth from God, there will also be growth from God. There is absolutely no limit to what God can do with a person who loves him and seeks him. Godliness is a relationship in Jesus in which the individual is being transformed into an ever-expanding likeness of Christ Himself. When a person understands the truth about Godliness, it becomes the most desirable possibility in all of human experiences. There is nothing so beautiful, so satisfying and so natural in all of human life. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment-hating what He hates-loving what He loves-and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.
“Only the disciplined person will rise to his highest power. He is able to lead because he has conquered himself” We must face the fact that many today are disgracefully careless in their living. We have liberty, we have money, and we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared and overpowered by temptations, distraction and superficial form. Many people fail to consistently train themselves for Godliness because they settle for second best agendas. Remember that the biggest source of objections to Godliness will be our own sinful nature. Jesus said, "It is not what is on the outside of a person that defiles them, but what comes out of their heart.
In our old nature we have spent a life time developing patterns of sinful attitudes, thinking and behaviors. These habits will not be broken and replaced with godly behavior and thinking without commitment and discipline. The apostle Paul uses an athletic image to tell us we must discipline ourselves to live godly. “Why is it so important? .Because “it holds the promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” It has immediate pay offs in this life, and eternal rewards.
Discipline is that determined effort on our part that corrects molds and perfects the character of a person. Godly character does not come all at once, but over a lifetime. Spiritual discipline is the training that is needed for the unhindered pursuit of God’s will and purposes. Discipline puts into daily practice our commitment to live a godly life. It begins in the mind. “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). This inner transformation takes place as we memorize, meditate, and practice the precious truths of the Bible.
Here are 15 Biblical principles for spiritual Discipline.
1: Have a Faith in God. “Have faith in God," Jesus answered. (Mark 11:22) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
2: Seek God. This is what the LORD says “Seek me and live." (Amos 5:4) Jesus said “But Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
3: Fear God. “The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23) "It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate." When we lose the fear of God and don't respect Him and His commandments, we are going to live our lives without accountability to God and one another, which is the cause of a number of sins.
4: Love God. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17).
5: Listen God. Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:42-44.
6: Obey God. Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29) Obedience to God demands courage to say no to self, no to appetites, no to lusts of the flesh, no to what's easy, and yes to carrying the cross. “We must obey God rather than human beings.
7: Serve God. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.( Mathew 6:24)
8: Worship God. Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24)
9: Rejoice in God; Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4) “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior”. — (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
10: Trust in God. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5).
11: Honor God. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 Man's highest aim should be to bring glory to God and this includes praying according to His will.
12: Pleasing God Rather than Men: Pleasing God is, or should be, the goal of all believers—all who call upon the name of Christ for salvation. Paul reminds the believers in Rome that “they who are in the flesh cannot please God”
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”( Colossians 1:9-10.) “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16)“And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”(1 John 3:22 )
13: Let God lead you “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”( Psalm 32:8) God Guides You in Doing His Will.
14: God's will, first and foremost, This means we must be committed to following God's will daily, whatever the cost. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2. The only decision God does not want us to make is the decision to sin or resist His will. God wants us to make choices that are in agreement with His will. So, how do you know what God’s will is for you? If you are walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for your life, God will place His desires on your heart. The key is wanting God’s will, not your own.
15: Finally Ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Ask God for wisdom to understand what he wants to teach you through the adverse circumstances he has allowed into your life( James 1:5)
Ask God for more practical insight into scripture so that you can become more godly in character (Ps.119:33,34). Follow the example of godly characters in Scripture
Ask God for better understanding of what God has given you in Christ (Eph.1:16-19) & how much God loves you (Eph.3:18,19) so you can mature spiritually.
Ask God for greater love for other people (1 Thess. 3:12) & better discernment on how to love them effectively (Phil.1:9).
Ask God for opportunities to share your faith, & the courage & wisdom to make the most of those opportunities (Col. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:19,20).
Ask for God to expose sinful attitudes that are hurting you and others and dishonoring God (Ps.139:23,24).
Lord Jesus said, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:20). "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Mt. 5:48). Paul tells the Thessalonians, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). And Peter says, "As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, 'Be ye holy, for I am holy'" (1 Pe. 1:15, 16).
We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world. Paul writes to the Corinthians, "He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:15). And to the Ephesians, "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it" (Eph. 5:25, 26). And to Titus, "He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). We must be holy, because this is the most likely way to do good to others. Our lives will always be doing either good or harm to those who see them. They are a silent sermon which all can read.
We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we are true children of God. Children in this world are generally like their parents. Some, doubtless, are more so, and some less-but it is seldom indeed that you cannot trace a kind of family likeness. And it is much the same with the children of God. The Lord Jesus says, "If ye were Abraham's children ye would do the works of Abraham."-"If God were your Father ye would love Me" (John 8:39, 42). If men have no likeness to the Father in heaven, it is vain to talk of their being His "sons". If we know nothing of holiness we may flatter ourselves as we please, but we have not got the Holy Spirit dwelling in us: we are dead, and must be brought to life again-we are lost, and must be found. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they," and they only, "are the sons of God" (Rom 8:14). We must show by our lives the family we belong to. We must let men see by our good conversation that we are indeed the children of the Holy One, or our son-ship is but an empty name.
We must be holy, because without holiness on earth we shall never be prepared to enjoy heaven. Heaven is a holy place. The Lord of heaven is a holy Being. The angels are holy creatures. Holiness is written on everything in heaven. The book of Revelation says expressly, " Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life." (Rev. 21:27).
May God help us to search our heart’s hidden intentions, and replace any self-centered motivations with the excellent way of Christ’s love? Then our works will be of eternal value.