My inbox is full of emails trumpeting how I can become rich in a very short time. They show me how it can be done by selling goods and services, buying properties, to even getting in shape, and having others pay you for your secrets. It’s all about profit and living the high life where no one is your boss. Everyone wants to be wealthy and famous. Paul warns us not to get caught up in these but, instead, practice the disciplines which will produce godliness. These will bring profit for your present life.
“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 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.”
In the Greek and Roman societies during Paul’s time, athletic ability and body image were worshiped. The Greeks had the Olympics and their gods, who were revered for their beauty and strength. The Romans had their emperors and military, which projected power and domination. Paul contrasts that by telling us what is truly profitable, disciplining ourselves for godliness.
People are wasting time chasing after pursuits that will profit us little. Whether it be wealth or physical fitness, those pale compared to what truly profits us, godliness. It’s not that you can’t have health and wealth and be a Christian, but they are nowhere near in importance as godliness. This is where we need to spend time disciplining ourselves.
Profit for Your Present Life
Godliness is the pursuit of becoming more like Jesus. This happens through the disciplines of prayer, reading your Bible, fasting, giving of your money and time, and loving on your neighbor. When we do these over a long period of time, it creates habits that we do without reminding ourselves. Doing these won’t make you better than others or in God’s eyes, but the hope is that they will make you more humble, and that is the pathway to being like Jesus.