Do you know some of “those people” who are all about God? You bring up a problem and they turn the subject to God. They get a bonus at work and praise God. You know – those kind of people who are always bringing up, considering and evaluating things according to God. Aren’t they annoying? Ha, that was a test! If you nodded your head in approval, it just might mean that you have not yet attained godliness.
On the other hand maybe you hear all the time what a godly gal or guy you are. “You’re such a godly person!” Sound familiar? Well whether you are constantly accused of godliness or it annoys you – let’s examine just what godliness is. Godliness is a quality that very mature Christians possess. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you are familiar with the qualities God wants us to add to our lives as we grow spiritually. I have been discussing a spiritual path God wants each of us to walk – picking up several qualities as we go (we shall call it the 2 Peter Path today). In past blogs we have discussed: Faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, and perseverance. The next quality on the 2 Peter Path is godliness. There are only two more qualities after godliness on the 2 Peter Path, so if one make it to godliness this indicates a very mature follower of Jesus Christ!
So What is Godliness?
Obviously a godly person is a person that acts God-like, right? That was what I used to assume “godliness” meant. Interestingly enough the word that is translated “godliness” does not actually have “God” in it. So, though that is a good guess, the literal translation is not “God-like.” The word actually means “reverence” with a hint of “fear.” Historically this word meant piety / reverence toward the gods (classical Greek literature) or toward God (Christianity). In this context we are obviously talking about reverence toward the Christian God. What I like to do is throw all this stuff in the meat grinder and churn out this definition – godliness is awe and devotion to God.
Are You Godly?
As mentioned earlier, godliness is a quality that very mature Christian possess. It is typically dedicated believers who have been on the 2 Peter path for some time who attain godliness. I dare say (and this is only my opinion) that not many of us get here. Nevertheless, please don’t use that statement as a cop-out or excuse to unfold your lawn chair somewhere on the 2 Peter Path before godliness. Godliness is God’s will for each one of us, and God has given us everything we need to attain it (check out verse 3) …His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…. Also we are expected to strive for these qualities, including godliness – (verse 5) ….applying all diligence….
I know we typically associate godliness with actions and attitudes. But to determine whether or not YOU have attained godliness – it is necessary to go beyond the action or attitude – and examine the motivation behind it. Remember – awe and devotion to God. I know that many mature Christians read this blog – Christians who do many, many wonderful works! Christians who serve in their local congregations, teach, preach and even do mission work! Obviously you all do these things as a response to God’s unconditional love, grace and of course His sacrifice on your behalf! But to determine if you are godly, make sure your good works don’t include an Ego-AND. You know the Ego-ANDs don’t you? Here are a few:
- I preach because of my awe and devotion to God AND it gains me respect.
- I teach because of my awe and devotion to God AND I enjoy the compliments I receive.
- I cheerfully give at church because of my awe and devotion to God AND I get a tax write off.
- I tirelessly work at church because of my awe and devotion to God AND I like the recognition I receive.
Keep up the good works. But also realize that God wants us to reach a place where it is ALL about Him. A place where our response to God’s presence and grace is for His glory and His purposes alone. Get rid of those Ego-ANDs! If nobody saw and there was no recognition or personal benefit, would this have any effect on your actions and / or attitudes? If not – you just might be a godly guy / gal.