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.
Although we as humans are made in God’s image, that image is broken and marred due to sin. In Christ we are being restored into the image of God, Christ himself the image of God, fully in his being. A part of that change involves our own effort. And it is described in nothing less than training.
When we are converted to Christ our lives take on an entirely new direction. But we soon learn that we haven’t arrived, that we still sin, and that in fact we have a long way to go to be like Jesus, and to fulfill God’s will as prescribed in scripture. Further down the road in our Christian life we may have made significant strides and we may be quite different. But we will have a depth about us so that we will be able to understand God’s will in Jesus in a way we couldn’t have understood it before. So that, like Paul, we will not think we’ve arrived, but will all the more be poised to press on toward the goal God has set for us in Christ.
Training involves self-control and effort on our part. Discipline is a common word for this, the verb as well as the noun which points to actual things we can do in the process of training. Reading or listening to, studying and meditating on scripture, praying, meeting regularly with God’s people, doing good works for others- especially for the poor and those in need. All of these and more are part of what we can do. Some of the classic Christian exercises such as silence, solitude, lectio divina and other practices can help us immensely, deepening us so that we can engage in such training all the more and in that be making progress all the more, as well.
We will by and by find that training is indispensable to us for our progress in the faith. And we will become those who are more and more acclimated to it, because it is something that is becoming more and more a part of us, and because it helps us in our Christian walk and experience. In fact we will find it an essential part of following our Lord in this life, something we not only have to do, but want to do. In spite of the struggle and problems involved in it. Together with others in Jesus in this for the world.