God's Word is explaining to us that we have an appointment for a workout in the gym. God Himself wants to train us in how to live, walk, and grow in Christ. The Discipline of Integrity means we choose to do what God's Word says we are supposed to do.
As Paul continues to relay God’s message to each of us, we remember from last time Paul used the highest level of emphasis that is possible to convey in the Greek language. Remember those bright colored words that stand for the emphasis God placed on them grammatically?
We are each invited by The Lord to spend time each day: working out. This workout is illustrated by Paul with scenes from the culture of his day. Guided by the Spirit of God, Paul uses the examples of the three most well known sports from the gymnasium, and applies them to the life of every believer.
Just as our world has recently witnessed the modern Olympics, so Paul’s world also had witnessed the ancient and original Olympics for hundreds of years. Paul was so focused upon God that he could even see spiritual illustrations in those huge sports events. Paul says that:
Healthy Believers are Spiritual Athletes
In the Greek world there were the great Isthmian Games at Corinth; and the great Pan-Ionian Games at Ephesus. These led to what was the greatest of all the games, the Olympics held every four years.
After three years of ministry in Ephesus and one and a half years of ministry in Corinth, we can see the impact Paul’s exposure to these games had on his ministry. So, using athletic metaphors, Paul explains the pathway to long-term spiritual health for believers. Once we are saved, God wants us to be growing in Christ-likeness, that is what spiritual health is all about: reflecting Christ from more and more areas of my life.
Paul now explains these disciplines in a way that ties together elements from many of his other letters. Paul uses the pictures from every day life around the first century believers: The world of the gymnasium in 1 Tim. 4:7-10. Please stand and follow along in your Bibles as we hear God speaking through the Apostle Paul.
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