But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:7–8—NIV)

There are some in our culture who freely express their “enlightened” opinion that matters of faith are personal issues and should be kept that way. I believe this "pearl" of worldly wisdom generally arises from a benighted desire to remain comfortable and undisturbed in unregenerated ignorance. This sentiment clearly contradicts Scripture.

Godliness is an often encountered theme in both of Paul’s letters to Timothy. The Greek word eusebeia is a compound word made up of “well” plus “to be devout”. It basically means to conduct life well with a Godward focus. Certainly the One Who determines whether it is done “well” is God, since the word for “devotion” is closely related to a word for “worship” in Scripture. Every believer is to behave with God-likeness and God-consciousness.

If the word were used without a context then the opinion enjoining private practice of faith would have some small credibility. Paul does not give any latitude for such thoughts. He challenges us to visible godly living.

The particular word for exercise which the Holy Spirit led Paul to choose refers to the exposed form of athletic competitions of the Roman world. The exercise of godliness must not be a hidden practice concealed in the heart. Striving godliness is to be seen by a spectator world.

Paul further explains that exercising godliness is useful both now and in eternity. The word for promise used here is a legal term denoting a proclaimed announcement, hence a public promise. Godliness is useful both now in a public form of announced promise of life in Christ, and life in Christ to come!

Do not be afraid to allow your striving exercise of devotion to God to become a matter of public notice. The light of testimony you bear is needed in a sin-darkened world.