There is a faith that exercises itself unto godliness. It’s soul is purified through obedience to the truth and its mind has been conformed to the mind of Christ by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. The faith that exercises itself unto godliness is not directed by cultural traditions, lore, and pithy sayings, but is directed by the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. ~1 Timothy 4:6-7
The true words of faith that are found in agreement with godliness and the pure words of our Lord Jesus Christ give nourishment to the soul and make us strong for godliness. Like an athlete who gives up sugary and contaminated junk foods to eat wholesome, nourishing food, so we’re instructed here to give up those pithy sayings that so often direct our faith and turn to the good words and doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote about “profane and old wives fables“. This term is an epithet that expresses the wisdom that is retold and reinforced in us from childhood through adulthood in stories, catchy sayings, and cultural traditions. The term “profane” here does not denote the sexually vulgar or disrespectful, but denotes sayings that are secular, rather than Biblical (Oxford American English Dictionary). Very often such catchy sayings find widespread acceptance within the Church and marry the secular to the sacred in an especially adulterating manner.
The sayings we find ourselves repeating should be examined in light of the nourishing words of faith in scripture to make sure that we are not filling ourselves with cancer causing junk food.
EXERCISED UNTO GODLINESS
But the faith that is nourished on the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrines that agree with godliness is fit and ready for godliness. We know that no one exercises themselves without first having eaten nourishing food; likewise, we also must have our faith nourished on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (not men), as it is written,
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. ~1 Timothy 6:3-5
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who can’t lie, promised before time began; ~Titus 1:1-2
So He humbled you, and allowed you to be hungry, and fed you with manna, that he might teach you that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of Yahweh’s mouth. ~Deuteronomy 8:3, cf Matthew 4:4
This is the faith of Jesus Christ, the faith of the prophets, of Moses, and of the apostles; the faith that is nourished on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
With this nourishment our faith can be fit and ready for godliness.
As well, the faith that exercises itself unto godliness rejoices in godliness and does not restrain itself from any good, as it is written,
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. ~James 4:17
Likewise, this faith knows and thinks on those things that are of God, as it is write,
“Brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you..” ~Philippians 4:8-9
A faith that is nourished on culture refrains itself from doing good out of cultural fears (isolation, ridicule, and offenses). But this faith, one that has rejected all words except those which are good for its nourishment from the LORD, this faith is full of these things and acts on them.
We have a faith that is not shipwrecked, but overcomes and rejoices in infirmity; it is a faith that is very full, dynamic, and diverse, yet always in perfect agreement with every form of godliness: this is the faith that was authored and perfected in Christ Jesus and given to us “from faith to faith”.
Rejoice that our faith is not dead, but bears good fruits according to the work of God, which is to believe on Christ!
May your faith be nourished on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God and be made fit for all godliness as you exercise yourself to that end. Grace, mercy, and peace to all the faithful brethren, amen!