What Is Being Godly?
Godliness is not a pose. It's not a covering. It's not an act. It is a person controlling your life.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You’re doing all right? Oh, I’m fine. Thank you for asking. I’m happy in the Lord. I’m glad to be back with you. I treasure these precious moments that we can spend together, the miles drop away and it is as though I were right with you in your home or sitting beside you in your car or wherever you may be listening. I’m so glad that we can get together around the Word of God.
We’re looking at II Peter Chapter 1, and the overall concept is the fact that God gives you certain things. His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and God in us. All that you need to live the Christian life is already yours. Second, the key to enjoying it is in the Word of God whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these, that is, these promises you might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through unbridled desire. So God has already given you everything that you need to live the Christian life and the way you cash in on it is through the Word of God hidden in your heart so that your reaction to circumstances is based on God’s Holy Word and upon His will.
That being so, Peter says, now there’s something that you can do. By faith you can change the dimensions of your life and character. “Add to your faith,” said he. Knowledge virtue, add to your faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly love, and Calvary love. These are the dimensions that people normally lack which could be added through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as what Peter is telling you.
Now, so far we’ve got knowledge and temperance and virtue. And the last time we got together we were talking about this word “patience,” “hupomoné,” stay down. How do you do this? I said it begins inside when my spirit kneels, bows, low before God and I yield the situation to Him. You’ve heard of situational ethics. That means do what seems to be right in the situation. Well, I believe in situational faith. Commit yourself to Almighty God in a situation. I tell you that works. When you’re harassed, when you’re impatient, when you feel like you’ve had it up to here and you can’t stand anymore, when things are going wrong, you know, there are some days when everything seems to go wrong. Murphy’s Law days. You know, everything goes wrong, and at some or another you feel like just blowing up and chucking the whole thing.
Well, dear friend, patience begins inside not outside and if you can yield yourself to your blessed Lord in the midst of situations that are trying, you’ll find that He keeps you. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us. God’s Holy Spirit dwells within the believer. And as you yield to Him, He keeps hold of you, keeps you on an even keel, one might say. Patience.
Now, how do you accomplish this? (1) Submit the situation and yourself in it to God. (2) Make patience part of the overall working plan of your life. Many people have never decided that it’s better to be patient than to blow up. My memory goes back a great many years now to something that happened in an office where I was present with two other believers, one of whom was having what you might call a tantrum and finally just walked away from everything and I was upset. Oh, I was upset. And I said to the brother who was left, I said, “What in the world are we going to do?” And he laughed. I was amazed. He broke out into laughter. He said, “Listen, don’t you realize that’s part of the act. He always does that when he can’t have his own way.”
Well, I’d say I learned something then. I never knew there were people like that. But for many of us, now let’s admit it, for many of us it is true that we have never decided that patience, God-given Holy Spirit controlled patience, so the scriptural kind of patience, not supine lie down and a doormat kind of thing but the God-given patience is part of our daily Christian discipline of life. We never decided that, and I think until you do you have trouble with the pressures under which you have to live. By faith you take by faith what you need from Jesus and you can take patience, His control of your spirit under pressure. You want to try that today? The next time you get into a situation where you just quite can’t handle it emotionally, deliberately turn it over to your blessed Lord and see what happens. You’ll come out a victor not a victim.
Now, he said, “By that add by your faith godliness.” It’s an interesting word. It’s a combination of two words, a little prefix which means “well” or “good” and a verb that means “to worship,” “to revere,” “to be pious,” “to be reverent.” So godliness, if you want to pull this verb apart, this word apart, comes from a verb form that means “to worship well.” The English derivation of godliness, of course, it’s a shortened version of god-likeness. You put those two concepts together and you get a pretty good idea of what we’re talking about here. Your attitude and your relationship with your God in your inner life is a good one. Worship well. You, “sebleming”. Worship well. That results then in a character and a conduct, a style of conduct that reminds people of the Lord whom you serve.
I must say that there are a few people that I’ve met in my life who impress one. The moment you come into their presence with the reality of God in their lives. And not everyone who is a Christian has that blessed quality but it’s something for which I personally want to continue to strive and there are some people whom I know, as I say, that just impress you. The moment you come into their presence, you’re impressed with the reality of God’s presence in their lives. And that doesn’t mean they’re always pious or somber or gloomy. It doesn’t mean that they’re always in toning scripture versus piously. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t what we call normal human beings. Oh, my, they can enjoy a hearty laugh. They know when to laugh. They know when to cry. They know when to pray. They know how to walk with God. He’s real in their lives. It’s the kind of person I want to be.
Oh, godliness. See, this is far more than piety. Anybody could be pious over a period of time. You see a family coming into church and the sister of course is very prim and precise and dressed in her brand new dress and she’s got long banana curls hanging down her back. Her mother has curled them meticulously and she’s just a little doll. She’s beautiful and she knows it and she sits so quietly and primly all through the service. Her brother, however, is a boy and a boy is a fidgety noise with dirt on it, you know, or some people say a hungry noise with dirt on it. Well, anyhow, he is constantly moving and he’s constantly into things. But now they’re coming into church and father has admonished this little fellow that he has to sit still. “Now, we’re in church now. You have to be good.” Does that have a familiar ring to it? And so this little guy does his best and he is pretty good. He doesn’t get into any obvious trouble there in that one hour of being in church. But the benediction is coming now and the minister has said — the benediction and the organ is playing and people are filing out of church.
Now, watch this boy. The minute he gets outside it is as though a number of springs have been let loose in his legs and arms and he is moving and jumping and running and talking. Piety lasted — enforced piety lasted for about 59 minutes. But let him loose and he comes back to normal again.
See, the problem with just being pious is that it is possible but we revert to our normal selves when that pressure is released. See, godliness is something other than that. You try to appear godly and you just look a little ill and ridiculous. I’ve gone through this through the years. I’ve dealt with young people since the 1940s, and so I know them pretty well. While I was at the college as president, during those 23 years I was sometimes stopped of a student in the hallway and say, “Hello.” “Hello, Jim. How are you doing?” And here’s the president of the college talking to a sophomore and he answers in a friendly fashion. He’s fine. And then I say, well, “How’s it with you and the Lord?” And immediately his face changes gears, you may say, and he tries to look religious. Well, it’s the funniest thing because he can’t do it successfully. He just ends up looking a little bilious.
You cannot fake godliness. You just can’t do it. Godliness is the result of a good solid relationship with the Lord based upon your surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Now, if you’ve never received Christ as Lord and Savior, you don’t even know what I’m talking about here. Your first job, if you have never committed yourself to the Lord Jesus, is right now does the Lord Jesus come into my heart and save me from my sin and make me a child of God? God be merciful to me, a sinner, and save me for Jesus’ sake. Pray that prayer and God will answer it. But if you know your blessed Lord and you’ve yielded your life to Him, the secret of godliness, god-likeness, well worship where God is real. The secret is to yield yourself completely to the indwelling Holy Spirit so that the atmosphere of your life is God.
It’s said of the early apostles, they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. It was said of Stephen, one of the deacons who became the martyr that they were not able to resist the power by which He spoke. It says that “with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and great grace was upon them all,” the grace of God as the atmosphere of your life, the power of God as the embodiment of your language.
See, that’s what it’s all about. Godliness is not a pose. It’s not a covering. It’s not an act. It is a person controlling your life. “God worketh in you,” said Paul, “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Let’s work at being godly today.
Father God in Jesus’ name, will Thou bless today our lives with godliness. We ask in His name. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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