Jump Start # 2509
1 Timothy 4:8 “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.”
For our readers who are not aware, we are broadcasting our “Heaven Bound” podcast. Every week we are putting three different lesson content on the podcasts. On Mondays, it is “Jump Start Rewinds.” I read a Jump Start from the achieves. On Wednesdays, it is “This week at Charlestown Road.” We talk about something from the sermons presented on Sunday and then give a little sneak peak to what we will be preaching the following Sunday. On Friday, it’s “Heaven Bound.” This is our conversation platform about all kinds of things connected to our journey to Heaven. If you are interested, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in a variety of places. It’s called, “Heaven Bound.”
I have been listening very intently to these first few podcasts. I’m listening to volume, inflections, transitions, dead air space and all the critical things that I pick up on that most would never hear. In doing this, I’m listening to myself. Most all of my preaching career, I have been recorded. With the congregation I’m at now, we videotape and live stream our services. And, after all of these years, I still cringe when I hear myself speak. I don’t like the sound of my voice. Most preachers I talk to have a really hard time listening to themselves. How I hear my voice is not the way it sounds on podcasts and recordings.
But if we stretch that thought, most people do not like the way that they look. Growing up I had very red, wavy hair. Hated it. Some don’t like the looks of their nose. Some have ears that stick out. Some have knobby knees. For others, it’s freckles. Some think they are too short. Some think they are too wide. The truth is, most do not like the way they look. Then we walk by the magazines in the grocery store and we see what movie stars look like with the perfect face, or the perfect hair, or the perfect body. We sigh, knowing that we’ll never look like that. Truth be, most of them do not look that way either. One magazine cover proudly stated that the cover actress had the perfect look. It was found out that the magazine company paid $1,500 just to clean up the photo and remove lines and change skin tones and color to create “the perfect look.” The actress didn’t actually look like that.
Now all of this brings us to our verse today. Paul makes a contrast. The contrast is between the inside and the outside. The contrast is between physical exercise and spiritual exercise. It’s between bodily discipline and godliness.
Physical exercise has some value. That’s been proven medically. Get up and move about. Eat right. It’s good for you. However, the body still wears out. It is still appointed unto man to die. Bodily exercise won’t do you much good in the next world. A healthy physical heart is not the same as a strong spiritual heart.
Godliness makes a difference here and there. It changes us here and it prepares us for there. It builds our character and strengthens our hope. Godliness makes us stand in the shadow of God. Compassion, grace, forgiveness, goodness, service, faithfulness, truth, these are all the components of godliness. And, those things are manifested now. They are shown in the way we treat others. They are demonstrated at home, at work and in the church house. But the beautiful thing about godliness is that through faith, we have can and we will be with God. We will see His face.
Knowing this contrast, it is obvious where one needs to pour most of their attention and effort. It has to be in becoming godly. Eating right is great, but what are you pouring into your heart? Walking 10,000 steps a day is fine, but are you walking with the Lord? One can be in poor health, yet have strong faith in the Lord. But if one is strong in body, but weak in soul and spirit, he won’t make it to Heaven.
And, all of this reminds us of what we can and what we cannot change. I don’t like the sound of my voice. There’s not much I can do about that. I suppose if a person didn’t like the way they looked, and they had the money, they could change the shape of their nose or ears. That sounds painful to me. You can’t really stretch a short guy into being a tall person. There are some things that we can’t change. There may be some things about ourselves that we do not really like, but there’s not much we can do about it. It’s the way the Lord made you. However, there are things that we can change. We can become godly. We don’t have to accept living with a negative or soul attitude. That’s your choice. You can change that. You don’t have to be judgmental. That’s a choice you make. You don’t have to be demanding and mean. That’s a choice you make. You don’t have to be selfish. That’s a choice. You don’t have to be stingy. That’s a choice.
The most important part of you is not the way you look but your heart and your character. And, those things, the most important things, you can change. Spend time with the Lord. Walk with Jesus through the Gospels and notice how He treated others. You can do that. Learn, as James teaches us, to listen more and speak less. Learn to control your anger and not let so many things upset you. You can learn to be thankful. You can put on a heart of a servant. All of these things are choices. All of these things can be changed.
Sadly, far too many spend most of their time trying to change the exterior of how they look but the insides remain unchanged. Jesus referred to the judgmental Pharisees in this way. They were like a cup that was clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside. They were like a tombstone, bright and nice, but under the ground was rotting flesh. The Pharisees majored in making sure the outside looked good. Where they failed was changing what they really could change, their insides. Their insides ruined the way they looked on the outside.
There are things you can change and things you cannot change. The things you can change, you ought to. The things you can change are the most important. It is these things that will determine whether you are godly or not. Godliness is profitable for all things. It always fits. There is never a time, nor a place when being godly isn’t good.
Let’s change what really needs to be changed.