“Suppose you have a sponge and a pitcher of Pepsi. If you dip your sponge in the Pepsi and squeeze it, what’s going to come out?,” asks Derrick Tuper.
“No, when you squeeze a sponge soaked in Pepsi, Pepsi is going to come out.”
Using that illustration Tuper observes, “If you saturate your mind with questionable music, videos, magazines etc. do you think that holiness, happiness and godliness will flow out?”
We live in a wicked world that constantly seeks to saturate us with ungodliness and immorality. Kevin DeYoung was right when he wrote, “The world provides no cheerleaders on the pathway to godliness.” To combat the constant flow of sights, and sounds that influence our attitudes and actions negatively, Christians must continually be working to develop the quality of godliness.
Godliness is one of the virtues Peter says that we need to add to our faith.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)
Thayer defines godliness as reverence, respect and piety towards God. Vine says it means to be devout and denotes that “piety which is characterized by a Godward attitude (and) does that which is well pleasing to Him.”
Various translations render the Greek word as holiness. Piety. Or devotion to God. One modern speech version translates godliness as “gladly letting God have his way.”
Barclay suggests that the Greek word, Eusebeia, is the closest word in the Greek language for the word “religion.” That it is an awareness of living in the presence of God. And of having the right attitude toward Him. Godliness grows out of a feeling of dependence on God and a deep devotion for His majesty and glory.
Warren Wiersbe writes that godliness “described the man who was right in his relationship with God and with his fellowman. Perhaps the words reverence and piety come closer to defining this term. It is that quality of character that makes a person distinctive. He lives above the petty things of life, the passions and pressures that control the lives of others. He seeks to do the will of God and, as he does, he seeks the welfare of others.
All of this reminds us that we cannot isolate ourselves from the world. We must live in it. But God doesn’t want the world to live in us. Instead we must insulate ourselves from its corrupting influence through godliness. And furthermore seek to influence the world by being “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” That’s godliness. William Penn put it this way. “True godliness does not turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it.
While godliness manifests itself outwardly, it is an inward trait. It’s developed deep in the mind, heart and soul of a person who seeks its guidance. It is possible to possess “a form of godliness,” while denying its power and divine source (2 Tim. 3:5). Such a person is a Christian in name only, not in reality. He has religion on the surface, but not in substance.
This week we are going to devote our posts to further exploring the implications and applications of godliness in our lives. In the meantime, take to heart this admonition.
“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” ( Rom. 12:1-2, J. B. Phillips.)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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