More Godly … like you?
The appearance of godliness. I can put on a show with the best of them. I could even be putting on a show with this post! Let me tell you that anyone can write a blog and appear pious, and anyone can serve in the church as an usher or on a committee. We cannot define godliness as someone who writes a blog, or ushers or serves on committees. Although those things may indicate godliness, writing a blog does not make a person godly. Nor does writing a book, a song, a sermon, or anything else a man does. A man is made holy by the working of the Holy Spirit.
The reason I am writing this is because of a recent conversation I had with a young man. A conversation that struck a nerve in me. That conversation went something like this:
Him: ” I like your Blog.”
Me: “Thanks, I appreciate that.”
Him: “How can I become more Godly … like you?”
When I questioned him on how he could possible know whether I am godly or not he responded, “Through your blog…”
Now, most of us struggle with the sin of pride. I too have been working through my own struggles with pride recently so I may have over reacted to the question. Perhaps the young man was simply asking how to be more godly, or how to grow in his sanctification. Either way, that conversation really got me thinking about godliness.
Godliness means simply “to be like God.” In order to be like God we have to have an understanding of the person and character of God. God’s person and character are revealed in the Bible. So if we are to be like God we must first of all understand what the Bible teaches about His nature and person. That means we have to read the Bible.
The greatest revelation God gives us concerning His character is that of love. 1 John 4:8 -16 tells us that God is love. In John 15:13 we read we read, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” In Philippians 2 we read that humility is the greatest expression of love:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
And in Matthew 22:37-40 Our Lord tells us the two greatest commandments are all about love:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So when we love by humbling ourselves in service to God and others, choosing another’s well-being before our own… this is what it means to be godly.
Now my question to that young man was this: “How can you tell that I am a godly man from a blog?”
The answer is that you can’t. Sorry. 🙂
You can tell whether a person claims to be a Christian from a blog, but you cannot tell what kind of man he is. You cannot tell whether another person is clothed with Christ or not unless you know that person, you have to observe them, you have to be intimately acquainted with them. The only human being other than Jesus who really knows whether I am godly or not is my wife. She cannot read my mind of course, but she knows how I think and act and where my affections are. She sees me at my worst, and at my best. She has smelt the stench of my vilest sins, and she has seen the light of Christ’s mercy, grace and love shine in me. She knows how often I pray and read the bible. She knows whether I discipline the kids in a christian manner and out of love. She knows if I love God and others. She sees my weaknesses, she feels my brokenness when I am unloving toward her. She knows whether I humble myself before God and others in love or not.
And she knows that I am a work in progress.
Guys if you want to know how you are doing here there are 2 tests I can think of: one is to read the bible and test yourself against scripture like the beatitudes and the fruit of the spirit, the other is to ask your wife – she probably knows you better than you do!
Now it is true that all Christians have a measure of godliness. However, even though we are all called to a life of godliness, we will never have a perfect godliness in this life. We do not measure up completely. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And this includes the area of holiness.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. ~2 Peter 1:5-9
Anyone can appear godly through what he writes. Any fool can have a blog. Anybody can have a Facebook page and post funny little “Christian Comics”, or post pictures of sunsets or puppies with quotes by Tim Keller or scripture verses, or post “sermon jams”with John Piper sermons set to moving music. Those are all good, but godliness has very little to do with what I write on this blog, or post on Facebook. Godliness is less about what we do, and more about who we are…and who we are is found in Jesus Christ.
Am I clothed in HIS glory or my own? To be like Jesus Christ…That is the question we need to ask.
How can I be more like Christ?
That is the question that young man should ask.
That is the question I should ask.
It is the question we should all ask.
And the answer is found in the Bible.