We are going to look at godliness in greater depth next week but for now let us summarize it by saying it is us becoming like Jesus. It is us being transformed with his character. Some have referred to it as "a pursuit" of Jesus' character but only in the sense that it is our desire. It is where we turn our back on the character that is produced in this world because of our desire for Jesus' character. It is when Jesus becomes more important to us than anything we could pursue in this world. If godliness is the working out of Jesus' character in us then it would help to know the character of Jesus.
We all know that Jesus is loving and compassionate but that is only part of his character. I am going to give you a four point summary that simplifies the character of Jesus and that allows you to put all that he did under these descriptions:
- Jesus was* completely committed to our Father.
- Jesus was entirely dependent on the Spirit's enabling. He did nothing without the Spirit.
- Jesus loved others.
- Jesus proclaimed the Good News wherever he went.
Read that over a few times. This is a good summary of Jesus' character but it is not exhaustive. It allows us to see in a nutshell what that character should look like in us. Ask yourself:
- Am I totally sold out to Jesus? Is there anything else that has my attention, time, talents and heart?
- Am I completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to enable me to do all things? Is there any part of it where I trust in my own abilities, money, opinions and ideas?
- Do I love others with sacrifice, considering their needs greater than my own? Do I only love according to convenience, when it suits me, when I feel like it and as long as it is what I want to do?
- Do I freely share the Good News about Jesus and the Father's plan for salvation? Do I proclaim freedom to the prisoners? Do I shed light in the darkness for people to see? Or do I keep the Good News to myself in the fear of offending someone?
Interesting isn't it. Funny, it wasn't my intention to write any of that. I just wanted to point out what Paul said to Timothy. Godliness is not a natural ingredient found in us. It is something that must be produced in us by the Holy Spirit but we must desire it. Like everything in the Kingdom we must first desire it before we can have it. We must desire salvation to be saved. We must desire godliness to be godly. There is only one source of godliness:
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
That mystery from which godliness springs is the great mystery that the Father has revealed to us. Once we were blind but now we see so very clearly the Son of God, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, Jesus the Christ. He is the only source of godliness and it is to be like him we must desire. As we allow that desire to grow in us the Spirit will enable us. We will become more like him as we journey through this life for the purpose of developing this character.
When I asked how you were doing at the beginning of this you may have measured your response according to the standards of this world but that is not what I meant. How are you doing in your walk with Christ? How are you doing in this "pursuit" of godliness? Where is your heart right now? Are you completely and entirely committed to Jesus Christ? Are you completely dependent on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit? Do you spend your days loving others as Jesus has loved you? Are you so convinced and excited about Jesus that you have to share the news wherever you go? That is what I meant when I asked "How are you doing?" So, how are you doing?
* "was" refers to the three year ministry period. Jesus was, is, and forever will be. Jesus has always been, being one of the three in the Godhead - God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit.