Tag Archives: Godliness

Choosing to be Devoted

Godliness is devotion which is characterized by an attitude toward doing that which pleases God. Make no mistake about it: both devotion and attitude are choices made by an act of our will.

To be sure, this is what has been set before us as believers: to pursue a life pleasing to Him, or not to pursue it. Deciding whether or not to pursue intimacy with God has its rewards, and its consequences.

Ask any parent. Ask them what they value most: an adult child who desires to be close for the sake of relationship itself, or one who relates to them either from a sense of obligation or from a selfish fear that they might forfeit something of personal benefit. They’ll tell you! The parents love both children equally. But which do you think will receive more attention from the parent? Which deserves the richness of their full companionship and support?

God is like that. Because of His love, He doesn’t reject His children when they don’t show much interest in pursuing Him. And He doesn’t get much pleasure from those who pursue Him merely from a sense of compulsion or requirement. Just imagine, though, how thrilled He must be with those whose motives are pure—who want Him just because He’s Dad.

Choosing Holiness

Attempting to gain acceptance with God by our own goodness merely results in dependence on law as the basis for our righteousness. But it goes without saying that earning our own way with God is at best an exercise in futility. For this reason, God, knowing the limitations of our flesh, resolved this issue once and for all by laying in us a foundation of holiness—His holiness. And only on such a foundation can a life pleasing to Him be built. It’s God’s exclusive platform for growth and transformation.

So we’ve got to get over the idea that being a Christian means having the power in and of ourselves to increase our holiness. Rather, this new life in Christ is all about God’s Spirit interacting with our own so that we are now capable of making godly choices. And godly choices is what cultivates the transformation of our character.

Given the fact that we can never gain God’s acceptance through our own efforts to become more holy, just what is our responsibility toward seeing that holiness (sanctification) comes to full fruition in our life? Well, obviously the duty to live our life in a manner pleasing to God is the first step. But what’s our next step—how do we to go about pursuing it?

Our mindset is the answer to this question. Paul exhorts believers to “set your minds on the things above,” and assures them that “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”(Colossians 1:1-3, Romans 8:6)  After all, that’s what godliness is: devotion which is characterized by an attitude toward doing that which pleases God. And make no mistake about it: both devotion and attitude are choices made by an act of our will.

Character the Goal

Scripture makes it very clear that God is interested in something a whole lot deeper than the superficial change we tend to be most comfortable with. He wants to live His life in and through us, to bring us to a place of spiritual health and maturity where He can use our life to radically impact the world. And it’s impossible for Him to do this without first transforming our character through the renewing of our mind.

What does character have to do with it? Well, the definition of character largely answers that question. Character in the Greek means proof of genuineness, trustworthiness. It’s not surprising, then, to find it translated in at least one place as proven character.”(Romans 5:3-4)

When the term character is used in Scripture, a great deal is revealed in regard to the condition of man’s heart. Character is that quality within which governs our response in any given instance or circumstance. It’s who we are at the deepest level of our being. In the end we always behave as our character dictates.

A weak character can’t help but succumb to temptation, sadly resulting in a never-ending cycle of bandaging up our sin, patch by cumbersome patch. But a character transformed through a life of godliness responds the very same way every time temptation surfaces: “Of course I won’t do that. That’s not who I am!” How would you rather live your life—on the verge of failure every time sin rears its ugly head, or benefiting from the much-needed help that godly moral fiber brings?

Enabled to be Godly

It’s a wonderful thing to have such utter confidence in the fact that our freedom from law and sin has allowed us to share in God’s own righteousness. And that’s not all! Our redemption is set in stone—a salvation and heavenly reward that no one can strip away from us. But standing in such a marvelous and rock-solid hope carries the danger of breeding complacency. “Now that I’ve got my ticket to heaven, what more do I need? Why worry about it?”

Such an attitude is always rooted in the self-centered belief that, at the end of the day, our relationship with God amounts to little more than making a better life for ourselves here and now, with the added bonus of a fabulous heavenly life later. Sadly, this is the way many Christians think about God and His purpose for their life. But it really shouldn’t surprise us much; multitudes of voices unrelentingly and convincingly preach this very message.

This watered-down gospel, though, has no real basis in Scripture. Quite the opposite actually: devotion, selflessness and discipline bear the true mark of a godly person. “Godly? Who said anything about godly? I’m just glad I’m saved!” Well, saved is wonderful, but our reconciliation with God encompasses a whole lot more than merely our initial regeneration—no matter how dramatic our born-again experience might have been.

The primary reason for God doing all He has through Christ Jesus is to pave the way for godliness to become the standard of our life in Him. Salvation, then, is merely the starting point in our walk with God. Through redemption, we are provided the framework essential to choice. And choice by faith is the very heart of our life—and growth in that life—as Christians.(Titus 2;11-12)

It’s the Journey that’s Important

What does godliness actually mean? The term itself sounds a little scary, doesn’t it? After all, “How could I ever be thought of as being godly?” Indeed, knowing the reality of human nature, how could any of us? But isn’t there a misunderstanding here? You see, the definition of godliness is: devotion which is characterized by an attitude toward doing that which pleases God. So we shouldn’t think of godliness only as a position we need to arrive at somewhere along life’s path, much less a final destination. Instead, it is what we are to devote ourselves toward. Godliness is a mindset of pursuit—a quest which keeps us constantly engaged in seeking God’s will, and thus living to please Him.

(Excerpted from “Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself”)