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A Guide to Godliness

10 Feb

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. (1 Timothy 4:7-9)

We’re looking at a couple of things here: first, Timothy is told not to have anything to do with “irreverent, silly myths.” Then he’s told, instead of focusing on (irreverent, silly) myths, he’s to train himself for godliness. We too, in a manner, are told through Timothy (in a manner of speaking) to do the same thing. So then, because understanding what we’re told to do, is a major step towards doing it… And because there isn’t any need to define silly, irreverent myths (as I’m pretty sure the adjectives are enough for understanding what that sort of myth is about), let’s instead decide on the actual meaning of “godliness”.

Godliness, as you may have guessed, is the act of being like God. An act which will need a lot of “training for,” seeing as becoming like God is a feat only accomplished by one man, and that particular man was also completely God (His name, by the way, is Jesus). However, everyone is able to have characteristics of God. We’re His sons and daughters, it only makes sense that we would have Spiritual aspects of Him: just like we have physical aspects of our physical moms and dads.

To have godliness means a couple of main things: first, it means we have unfailing love, like God does. It also means we’re perfect, like God. It also means our sense of justice is like God’s. Now none of us has unfailing love, are perfect, or has a sense of justice like God’s. But we each of aspects of those: some people seem to find it easy to almost always be loving (they’re the people who are always smiling/hugging people). Others seem to be blessed more by God with the ability to overcome temptation. But don’t get me wrong! Every Christian can overcome any and every temptation. I’m just saying that, though every true Christian will always be tempted, some seem to be able run to God instantly in prayer and overcome. – This is a complicated subject, and if you ask me about it either through email or in a comment, I’ll try to explain it more thoroughly. – In addition, some Christians seem to have a greater sense of justice than others (not always a good thing, as those people don’t always have the perfect combination, like God does, of unfailing love along with that justice). So, to put all that simply: we all show parts of God, though those parts aren’t at all limited to the three I named.

Now that I’ve said all that, we should also train ourselves for godliness. As I mentioned, those that have a sense of justice somewhat like God’s, should work on increasing their love. Those who God has blessed with the almost instinctive ability to run to Him as soon as they are tempted should also “work on” their love, so that they don’t see another Christian whose failing to overcome temptation, and become prideful. Those with love almost like God’s, should work on their justice, otherwise they may tend to simply let wrongdoing slide. But, how is it that people can “work” on becoming more “like God”? I mean, we’ve been talking about it this whole time, but it seems no one actually knows how to “do it.” Let’s see what Paul has to say on the matter:

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:

   “When he ascended on high, 
   he took many captives 
   and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead (a), speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:7-15)

By “speaking the truth in love,” and not scheming, etc. we’ll “grow up into Jesus” (who is one with the Father). — The “truth” which we are to speak which Paul is referring to, can only be the Gospel. Think about it a minute: deceitful scheming, cunning and the rest are all “of the world.” Meaning that the truth that we are  to speak in love, must be the Gospel of Jesus, as that is the exact opposite of the world. By the way, we can clearly see that the ‘truth that we are to speak in love’ is in opposition to the world by the “Instead” Paul puts in there (see: a).

Now that we’ve answered that question, let’s ask another question; purely out of a desire to understand what’s going on: how can speaking the Gospel (of Jesus) in love, grow us into Jesus’ image? Well, let’s think about it a minute:

Jesus’ death on the cross on our behaves, is the ultimate display of God’s love, justice, and perfection. It displays God’s love by Jesus dying in our place. It displays His justice, because God couldn’t let our sin simply go, there actually did have to be a substitute, and it displays His perfection by the fact that, to put it simply, Jesus’ substitution was accepted. Only a perfect, unblemished sacrifice would be accepted, and His was. Thus, by speaking the Gospel in love (i.e. by, when we speak the Gospel, not banging people over the head with it, so to speak), the aspects of the Gospel are “added unto us.” Something which makes sense, because whenever we speak or write something, that something in a way becomes a part of us.

So, to try to summarize (we’ve covered a lot this time): we are to try to train ourselves in godliness, by speaking the truth of the Gospel in love.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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