Exercise Thyself Towards Godliness

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

1 Timothy 6:5

There are many who display an outward appearance of godliness, but within their heart is anything but godliness. They complain and want more for themselves rather than being content with what they have such as food and clothing. Displaying godliness and getting more is not gaining one anything, since we brought nothing into this world and can take nothing with us. So, what is the point of gaining it all but to flaunt it and show it in a boastful manner. This is not exercising thyself towards godliness at all. The apostle Paul talked about how one’s devotion towards God can be devotion towards something else, such as selfish ambition. True devotion towards God is having a clear conscience towards God and towards men [see Acts 24:16]. The question arises as to what form of godliness should we have?

What root of evil should be pulled up from the ground? We have all heard how money is the root of evil. The apostle Paul warns how the love of money brings destruction and eternal punishment. Yet, for many, the self needs to be gratified despite the dissolution of morality. This is known as the human condition towards sin due to lustful desires. Every human knows that within themself lies a strong desire towards self-gratification. This is where unpleasant and disruptive behaviors or emotional outbursts come, and some are violent. We may control it for a time, but behind closed doors disruptive behaviors are bursting out. This is not godliness by any means, and Paul is telling us to flee from those who have this root of evil. It is not just the money but what they teach that brings ungodliness rather than godliness. As we near closer to the end of this world we will begin to see the growth of self-gratification as it was in the days of Noah.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

We read it but are we hearing what the word is saying? Paul is warning those who are professing Christians in the world. There will be perilous times and destruction will come because men will be lovers of themselves. Men will have a form of godliness but will deny the power of God through the Holy Spirit because the Spirit will convict men of sin [see John 16:8]. We cannot deny the power of God through Jesus Christ who is raised from the dead and is now sitting with God in the heavenly places [Ephesians 1:20]. God has put all things under the feet of Jesus. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to guide those who believe in the truth. This is the power of God to change every human heart. Men is unable to change their own heart even though they may be able to exercise it for a time. That is why a man must be “born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever [1 Peter 1:23].” It is the incorruptible seed that has eternal life and that is the word of God. Jesus exclaimed, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life [John 6:63].” The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. How can we understand it unless we are born of the Spirit?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

John 3:8

Like the wind upon the earth, we may hear it but may not know where it is coming from. Today, we rely on the weathervane to show us the direction of the wind. When I was in Australia as a teen, one Sunday morning I went to church with a friend. I heard a different sermon from that which was spoken by the minister. The sermon I heard was about being saved and my heart needed cleansing from sin. After the service I went to the minister to have a word with him. He directed me to his office and asked what it was I wanted to say. I told him I wanted to be saved, for I heard him talking about it. The minister looked troubled and said, “I did not preach about being saved.” I was adamant about what I heard. He said that he could not help me but was sure that I had heard something from God. I left the church not knowing how to be saved. I did not know who Jesus was. I did not know that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life [John 3:16].” The Spirit of God was moving upon my heart in preparation for me to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I needed the water and the Spirit to guide me to the truth.

What do you do with the issue of sin? What do you do with a form of godliness but denying the power of God? Mere men cannot know God unless He is born of water and Spirit. Born of water is the word of God and hearing plus believing it. Born of the Spirit is after believing it you receive it and become saved. Your conscious is no longer seared because you have accepted God’s sacrifice for your sin. It is through Jesus’ death on the cross that we can be saved from sin. The way toward Godliness is through the word and the Spirit of God that moves upon our hearts to believe and receive.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

The word of God is the two-edged sword that pierces the soul and sprit of men’s hearts. This is the incorruptible seed. Are we willing to receive it? We are to exercise our will in response to the will of God that is in the word. Exercising is your will to become doers of the word of God and that is done by believing and receiving. Our faith is in who Jesus is. Our walk as professing Christians is in the power of God through the Spirit that our stony heart will be changed with the heart of God. We should always have a clear conscience as Zacchaeus did in Acts 24:16.

“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”

Acts 24:16

It is also important to make restitution and correcting past violations you have made.  If you have borrowed something from a friend or neighbor and haven’t returned it, then you need to take that item back and make it right. This is exercising thyself towards Godliness. If you’ve made promises to your family, or others that you have not fulfilled, then you need to ask their forgiveness and see to it that the promise is fulfilled. That is exercising thyself towards Godliness. If you have harmed someone’s reputation through gossip or slander, then you need to humble yourself and ask their forgiveness. That is exercising thyself towards Godliness. Always having a clear conscience before God and man will keep your heart pure before God. You will be able to turn away from all perverse voices of corrupt men.   They are those who do the opposite of the will of God and gratify their own self.  Always keep the water [the word of God] and the Holy Spirit by your side.  This will make your devotion towards God real and active as you gain new heights in your walk with the Lord.