“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness…. II Peter 1:5-6
How would you describe someone who possesses godliness? Would it be someone who strictly obeys God’s laws? Or how about someone who is very knowledgeable of God’s word? Or maybe you would say someone who shows exemplary godly character. Godliness is all these things and more.
Timothy, a young man who was preaching in the prosperous Roman city of Ephesus, received a letter of instruction and encouragment from the apostle Paul. In this letter, which we call 1 Timothy, he refers to godliness multiple times; this word we scarcely see in the entirety of scripture is used 9 times in 6 chapters and when we closely look at these scriptures, we can see a theme forming to better understand the concept of godliness. Between instructing women professing godliness to adorn themselves modestly with good works besides fancy apparel to encouraging all Christians to couple their godliness with contentment, it’s apparent that godliness is a lifestyle that is devoted to the spiritual above the physical.
Like the Ephesians, many of us live in a prosperous society that doesn’t want for much, and this can make it difficult to live for the spiritual rather than the physical; to give into the lies that having more than the necessities is not enough; to believe in the wisdom of man above God’s doctrine; to strive for riches rather than godliness. Paul warns Timothy about these things and urges him to teach otherwise and we too need to take special note for “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (6:6-7).”
There’s much we can learn about godliness from Paul’s instructions to Timothy, but we must understand that Paul only gives a small snippet in this letter. However, what we can clearly see is that godliness is not about living for the prosperities of this world, but for the prosperities of the unseen world. To do this we must live a life that is devoutly zealous to being well-pleasing to God. This is the lifestyle of the spiritually minded and one that will obey God’s laws, grow in knowledge of His word, show exemplary character, and do whatever else is crucial for everlasting immortality.
Do you want to add godliness? Deny putting your stock in the physical above the spiritual by faithfully dedicating yourself to everything that is well-pleasing to God “for bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come (4:8).”
Holy Father, though I live in a physical world, it is the spiritual that I seek. To do this, I know that I have to be zealous for all things pleasing to You. In this way, I will add godliness which is profitable not only in this life, but in the life to come. May I live with godliness all the days of my life in anticipation for my immortality. Amen.
Truth in love,
Also see A New Year Focus