Godliness Looks Like Love

Godliness Looks Like Love

How fitting it is that our focus on godliness follows our focus on love. After all, godliness is seeking to become more like God, and God is love.

In what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew five, we are called to be perfect as God is perfect. This verse is preceded with a call to love-especially our enemies-and followed by a caution to not practice righteousness in order to be seen and praised. This calling doesn’t ask us to be perfect and then leave us hanging. Jesus instructs us how to practically walk out this calling. Yet if I turn my faith-based salvation into a works-based pursuit, I miss the mark! 

How grateful I am that I can’t achieve this perfection on my own. It is so much easier to surrender to Jesus’ love and Lordship when I know that “the way in is the way on.” In other words, in the same way that I needed a Savior the day I chose to follow Jesus, my same Savior teaches me, refines me, and loves me-all through the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26-27) The Holy Spirit helps us bear the fruit of the Spirit as we stay connected to and abide in the vine (John 15:1-17 and Galatians 5:22-23). As we abide in God, we become the embodiment of love found in 1 Corinthians 13.

Another passage that speaks directly toward living a godly life is found in 2 Peter one. It begins with the assurance that to those who have received faith, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Praise God that we don’t have to muster up what we need in and of ourselves as that wouldn’t be possible! Yet neither are we called to be passive. Check out verse five through eight for qualities that will keep us “from being ineffective and unproductive in (our) knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So how do I balance the call to pursue godliness with the fact that Jesus already qualified me to walk with confidence into the presence of our righteous and holy God?

1 Timothy 4 says to “train yourself to be godly…(as it) has value for all things” And yet in our pursuit of godliness, we often leave the nourishing truths of the faith for “godless myths and old wives tales” with which we are called to have nothing to do. Today I often reference larger sections of scripture to embed the word of God in our hearts-not in isolation, but also in context. 1 Timothy 4 ends with the reminder that saving “yourself and your hearers” comes by persevering in your life and doctrine. Dear friends, let us pursue godliness without falling into traps and snares that lure us away from life and peace. May God through his Holy Spirit reveal his nature to us and may His nature become our own as we love God and love his people.

We would like to thank Mary Coleman for writing this blog post.

A Surrendered Heart

A Surrendered Heart

I’ve got to start off by being completely vulnerable with you all that for years that word, Godliness, was very intimidating for me. You see it’s a bit scary because as an individual, I know who I am in the most inner part of my heart. I know what I struggle with in my mind and heart. I know the ins and outs of what I do or don’t do when people are or aren’t around. It’s easy to let those things, and even shame, dictate whether or not I feel that I’m capable of living a Godly life and leaving the old self behind.

Certainly, I’m not the only one out there that has felt that way.What do you think of when “living a Godly life” is mentioned? 

I used to think of certain people in my life that love God and seem to have it all together. I would think of the women in our church that look like they had perfect marriages and families compared to me. I would see them walking into church looking like they had it all together. I just knew that they didn’t have any junk they were carrying around like me. But boy was I wrong!

A lot of this way of thinking came from my upbringing. My parents met at a revival and, shortly after, dated and got married. I’m the oldest child and pretty soon after birth, I attended church. The church we attended was a super strict religious church. The beliefs they taught were more about works-based righteousness. You worked very hard to be a good Christian, please God, and also please the people in the church. Your life was only supposed to be good and blessed because of Jesus and yet, if you messed up, God was mad and was going to punish you, maybe even kick you out of His kingdom. That way of life also transferred into our homelife and, to be quite honest, this instilled my belief of how I saw myself in God’s eyes.

The truth is, as people, we genuinely mess up. We have faults and shortcomings, none of us are without those things. Romans 3:23For everyone has sinned and we fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

I can look back at all the times in my life, where I walked as a defeated Christian and was very unsure if godliness was even something I possessed inside of myself. 

All godliness means is the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something we will continue to do throughout our whole lives as a Christian. It’s not just something we arrive at one day.  It’s derived from the Greek word “Piety” in which the original translation comes from the word “Eusebes” (Yoo-Seb-Ace) which means a deep reverence devotion, the type of devotion in how a child is respectfully, devoted and loyal to their parents. 

It’s so simple! All God is saying is that when we come to know Him, He wants us to live in such a way that our lives would reflect that we are respectfully, devoted and loyal to Him because He is our Father and we are His children. 

2 Peter 1:4-8 tells us that by God’s divine power He has given us everything we need for a godly life and also that He has given us great and precious promises. Those promises enable us to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. Every promise listed in that scripture is who God says we are.  If He says it, then friends, let’s start believing it

What God has shown me is that I live out GODLINESS when my DEVOTION to him leads me to do the HARD work for Him.

So wherever you find yourself in this area of godliness in your life. I pray that you give yourself grace. God loves you and He is for you. He is our good Father who has our whole lifetime to perfect His work in us. All He wants is a heart surrendered and devoted to him.

Philippians 1:6  says “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

We would like to thank Brenda Martinez for writing this blog post.

The Essence of Godliness

The Essence of Godliness

Editor’s note: During 2022, we are focusing on the scriptures found in 2 Peter 1:3-11. These verses teach us about God’s divine nature. We pray that as we reflect on God’s nature, you will see all that He has created you to be! For the month of February, we are focusing on God’s characteristic of GODLINESS.

The way my brain works, putting words on paper is not quite the same as speaking them out of my mouth. When it comes to writing, I seem to not have the words to say or the order in which I want them to come out; however, I would never pass up the opportunity to share a word God has laid on my heart. 

Anyone who knows me knows I stay busy with my extra-large family and my work as a therapist. God has graced me with the ability to speak words that are needed in the moment even when I feel I’m not prepared enough. He somehow always fills my mouth with the words I need when I feel inadequate in my own strength. 

When I think of Godliness, like most people, the first thought that comes to my mind is perfection. For many, it is often compared to doing everything right or making the right decisions. 

As God’s creation and His child, the really cool thing is He does see me perfect, not because of what I do or have done, but because of the finished work of His son and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It makes you think if God can see me in this way, how should I see others? In my line of work, during countless therapy sessions, I have discovered that some of the most humble and gracious people I have encountered are homeless, addicted to substances, and society offenders. Some may know God, others may not, but some say they have an active relationship with Christ. 

They say things like: they depend on God to survive. They rely on Him to live and they call on Him daily. My fleshly instinct may lead me to judge with thoughts like, if you’re a Christian how come you are not being more “Godly” or Christ-like? 

Part of what God has shown me about Godliness is it is not necessarily about a devout religious practice but a reflection of Kingdom work. As much as I see strongholds, I see a work that is in progress that only God will complete. Scripture tells us in Philippians 1:6 that “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I may see a person differently that society judges as unworthy or messed up if I have my Kingdom lens on. This is the message shared with us in 2nd Peter 1:3-5. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through or knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. God gives us the assurance that through Him, we can participate in His divine nature that enables us to look past the corruption or sin to see his signature on all creation including His children.”

The essence of Godliness is reflecting the nature of the Kingdom of God in the course of everyday life. In my world, it may mean being dressed in the character of God and look past judgment and shame and guilt to love or help those in need. 

I see parallels in working with clients and patients. In the therapy world, we call it Unconditional Positive Regard. The Definition of Unconditional Positive Regard is when you show complete support and acceptance of a person no matter what the person says or does. This approach is very strength based and helps with empowerment motivation and confidence building. 

I see Godliness as embracing a Kingdom reality of being able to look past human flaws, to long to see people set free from strongholds, to see people the way God sees them. 

We would like to thank Katie Ssejjemba for writing this blog post.