"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
What Paul is saying here is that we should live our lives for God, we should live our lives the way He would want as revealed to us in the Bible.
As I was preparing my devotion I noticed just how many verses have this theme of training in godliness in it. So I thought to myself, "it must be important then!" One of the verses I found was 1 Timothy 4:7-8 which says,"...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." I love these verses! They show me why I need this training, it has value for the life to come (heaven).
The other verse I found is Hebrews 12:1 which says, "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." This gives me an analogy for why I need this training in godliness. My life is a race, the training I do helps me to "throw of everything that hinders" and "run with perseverance."
You might be thinking as you read this that to train yourself to live like God wants is something impossible. I'll be truthful, the reason I chose this topic to do for a devotion is because I've been struggling with training in godliness. I've been discouraged about it, but God has been teaching me some things and that's what I want to share. God has shown me that He is faithful and will help me with my training in godliness. I guess you could call Him my Personal Trainer.
As someone who has accepted God's gift of salvation we can go to Him in prayer about our training, we can tell Him about the sins that we seem not to be able to overcome in our training. We can confide in Him, for we cannot do our training without Him. Even though we want to believe we can train on our own, we need our Personal Trainer. By praying we are able to contact our trainer God.
My current favorite verse (it changes a lot) is Philippians 4:6-7 which says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." This verse has given me a lot of encouragement in the past and recently. It reminds me of what I should do- when I don't know what it is I should do: I should pray.
Sometimes in my life I get so stressed and anxious. When I go to God in prayer about it, He is faithful to do what He says in the Bible and He gives me peace.
My advice to you if you are struggling in your training in godliness is to pray about it. Give it to God. It is the best thing to do and it's what God's Word says to do.