Dan Panetti, Director of Biblical Worldview Institute
The new year is a time when many people make resolutions (negotiated promises with ourselves about how we are going to make a change) and improve ourselves in various ways. I ran across an ad targeted to those making New Year’s resolutions. It said “new year, new you” and it was an ad for cosmetic surgery.
This isn’t a diatribe for or against cosmetic surgery. This is more of a realization. Far too many in our society today change their outward physical appearance because it seems to be more important than making changes to ones character- “our inner man.”
Scripture gives us a reason to pause when thinking about the importance of our physical appearance in relation to our inner character. Paul challenged Timothy with a sentiment found in 1 Timothy.
“Rather Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in ever way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come,” 1 Timothy 4:8.
The Greek word that Paul uses for train (or discipline) is gumnazo. We get our English words gymnasium and gymnastics from this same root. Paul is encouraging Timothy to train himself in godliness just like an athlete would train for a competition. If you’ve ever seen gymnasts train… that’s intense!
With so much craziness in the world around us, Christians need to be able to distinguish good from evil as it says in Hebrews five. We need to be mature in our faith-“rightly handling the truth” as it says in second Timothy.
This year along with our annual resolution to eat better and work-out physically, let’s add a resolution to spend quality time in the Word of God. Let’s not merely settle for cosmetic changes, but let’s be willing to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).