As I mentioned before, in Paul’s day, there seemed to be people in the church that preached a superficial spirituality through asceticism and through a strange teaching involving myths and genealogies. But Paul makes it clear to Timothy, “Don’t waste your time on such things. Focus on what really matters.”
Specifically, he told Timothy,
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales;rather, train 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. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance
(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. (7-11)
The most important thing to Paul was becoming the people God called us to be. To become the people God saved us to be. What kind of people is that? A people like Him. A godly people.
Paul says that godliness has value both in this life and in the life to come. Why? Because it affects the two things that matter most. Our relationship with God and our relationship with others. When we fall into sin, it breaks both of those relationships.
When it says, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance,” it actually seems to be pointing to the value of godliness, rather than the fact that we have put our hope in God. The new NIV reflects that interpretation.
But it brings up a point that cannot be forgotten. Our hope for godliness does not come merely from our own self-effort. Yes, Paul says, “Train yourself to be godly.” But in order to become truly godly, our hope must be in God, that through his Spirit he will constantly transform us into the likeness of his Son.
And in training ourselves to be godly, the most important thing is to listen to our Trainer. In speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. In all these things we are to follow the instructions of our Trainer. And as we choose to follow him, he will give us the power to do what he asks.
How about you? Are you listening to your trainer?