Tuesday, September 1

Effective Living: Respect God Well

This whole series began in our Sunday school class at church. We were teaching through a book on godliness. In my prep for teaching I learned some things that changed the picture I had in my head on this concept of "godliness".

Think for a second .... how would YOU define godliness? If someone says you are "godly", what are they saying about you? We usually define this as a set of right behaviors. Godly people act and speak a certain, measurable way.

Peter says those that are effective ADD to their faith goodness and knowledge and self-control and perseverance and godliness ...................

Godliness is the outcome (the reward?) of those that stay under the load.

Read: 2 Peter 1:3-9
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

How do you know if you are a godly person? Is it based on how well you live? Is it the number of hours you give in service of others? Is it your tithing percentage? Is it the ability to say no to sin? Is it measured in your "quiet time" consistency? Do these types of things make you a godly person?

The simple answer is "no".

Behavior is a way we measure who is and who isn't godly but it doesn't necessarily mean we are godly. Behavior is a way we comfort ourselves and assure ourselves that we are OK with God when in point of fact we can do all these things and be very far from Him.

Godliness comes from the Greek, eu sebia (εὐσέβεια) which literally means to "respect God well". In other words, Peter's picture of the maturing believer is one that knows His God and respects Him with excellence. Respects Him well. If we want to be effective in life we will need to fear God well.

So, how do you know if you are a godly person? It is seen in reverence and respect. It is seen in worship and glory giving. It is seen in humility and grace.

The one that perseveres receives the reward. We saw that yesterday. If we stay under the load we come to this place of knowing God well and respecting Him well. If we stay under the load we get an opportunity to see God work. We will marvel at His power and presence. We will experience His rescue. We will experience Him.

Seeing God leads to fearing God. Fearing God will drive all the behavior that is listed above. But, the behavior will be seen as coming from the Lord rather than from ourselves.

Want to be effective in life? Grow in godliness ... grow in the fear of the God that loves you and will deliver you if you stay under the load.

I believe this is a loss point in the Christian life and the reason we are so behavior-oriented in the American Church. We are accustomed to easy rescues and no discipline. We are used to pleasing ourselves. We want to feel good more than be good. As such we jump off the pain train when pressure mounts. We do not stay under the load.

When we do not stay under the pressure and seek the Lord for rescue we miss more than "victory" we miss the special manifested presence of God. We miss Him. We miss out on that relationship we want more than anything in life. We do not learn to respect God well and as a result are not godly.

So, are you godly? Is your life marked by reverence and humility? There is more of God to know by all of us. We must keep on and never give in or give up.

Enjoy this video clip from The Mission. This will give you a picture of what it looks like (and feels like) to stay under the load and experience coming through the other side. If you missed yesterday's devo you might want to go back and watch Part I of the video.

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.

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