“Exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7b
(All Scriptures and Scripture references are from the King James Bible.)
No one is naturally possessed of godliness. We are totally unlike God. Godliness is not to be gained by a few cold wishes, or languid desires. Exercise thyself are words of great importance. The word “exercise” is borrowed by the apostle Paul from the practice of those who contended for the Olympic garland; who cast away every impediment and strained every nerve to win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24). There is much in godliness that demands the exercise of our understanding, for “great is the mystery of godliness” (1 Timothy 3:16). Exercise yourself to know all you can of godliness: its doctrines, its principles and its practices. Give attention to reading, to hearing sermons, to meditation, to prayer – not only to gain the knowledge, but the actual enjoyment of godliness. It is a blessing to have a right judgment in all things, but just to have knowledge will not do. We must enjoy God, and dwell in God, and have God dwelling in us.
Godliness is the best exercise. God is the best Being and godliness makes us resemble God. Absolute resemblance to God is impossible, for God is an infinite Being, and His immensity and flawless attributes cannot be communicated to His creatures. Likeness to God may be considered in having the understanding illuminated with His light (John 8:12; Ephesians 1:17-18), the heart renewed by His Spirit (Titus 3:5), and the life regulated by His Word (Psalm 119:105). Every other exercise of which we are capable is frivolous when held in competition with godliness. It is the best exercise, as it engages our best powers, and these powers are directed to the noblest object. – Condensed and revised from Sketches of Sermons; author unknown
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8
“The man* that fears, loves and serves God, has God’s blessing all through life. His religion saves him from all those excesses, both in action and passion, which sap the foundations of life, and render existence itself often a burden. The peace and love of God in the heart produce serenity and calm, which cause the lamp of life to burn clear, strong and permanent. Evil and disorderly passions obscure and stifle the vital spark of life. Every truly religious man, through the Divine blessing, extracts the uttermost good out of life. And, what is better than all else, he acquires a full preparation here below for an eternal life of glory above. Thus godliness has the promise of, and secures the blessings of, both worlds.” – Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the New Testament (slightly condensed and revised)