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Goodness and Godliness, and Why It Matters – by Funmi Amosun (1 July 2017)
Recently, I have been engaged in studying the relationship between walking within the narrow gateway and the concept of godliness. Why is this important? Because the minute you chose to enter through the narrow gateway, God put His hand on you for something special. And He is all-out to help you to do His will. Not only for his overall plan for human beings but largely for your own good. To fit into this God-plan, many people try “to be good”. That, in itself is not bad at all, but sooner or later, when life situations are not conducive, we rationalise and regularly break the rules of our desired “goodness”. Many of us view ourselves as, “godly”, because we are not wicked. We believe that because we are disciplined, morally decent, dutiful at work and at home, friendly, dependable, courteous, giving; live respectable lives, portray a humble deportment, with seriousness and integrity, we are, “godly”. We work hard, care for and provide for our families so that people who know us admire our personality and will never associate us with “ungodliness”. Some of us pride ourselves as godly because we pray, read the bible, perhaps teach others, and we are active or we hold a position or in church or fellowship. Overall, we avoid scandalous sins or misdeeds that are obvious to the observer. Even the people who know us vouch for our impeccable deportment. But, does this deportment mean that we are godly? Does being a good person amount to being a godly person?
Trying to observe rules of “goodness” is not equivalent to “godliness”. What then is “Godliness”? No matter how good we, or others perceive us to be, going through a whole day, not mindful of or tuned on to the Holy Spirit, placed in us when we made the choice to live life within the Narrow gateway, is tantamount to “ungodliness” Doing life behind the Narrow Gateway, “that leads to eternal life”, is to live daily with the question, “what is the Narrow Gateway”? Only then can one attain that special God-plan for our individual lives.
Trying to observe rules of “goodness” is not equivalent to “godliness”.
The feature text for today; taken from Colossians 1: 9-10, where the Word of God admonishes us to be, “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”. So “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” In other words, God wants us to be FILLED with a particular attribute – KNOWING His will, in a wise way AND therefore aligning ourselves to it. In doing so, we please Him, we are fruitful because we do things with an ever-present (engaged) knowledge of God and His will for every move we make.
So, if a person is a really good person, yet the person lives a whole day with little thought of God, without deliberating on what God’s will is (or without deliberating on W.I.T.N.G) and on how God would have him or her act or not act concerning the issues they encounter, can we say that person is godly? If a person is a really good person, yet the person has no sense of accountability to God, little or no desire to know what pleases or displeases God, and what actions would radiate God’s love, power and glory to people around, is that person godly? If I live a whole day, weeks and months with little cognisance of God’s opinion about my decisions and actions, at home, in the workplace and within myself, can I really say I am godly, simply because others see me as a highly moral, kind, friendly, courteous and very good person etc.?
Now there are different dictionary definitions of godliness, but if we are doing life behind the Narrow Gateway, then we should seek to be guided by what we are shown in the Bible and what the Holy Spirit instructs during the realities of our day to day living. Being godly according to the Bible, is not primarily about YOU, or what you do. It is first and foremost about GOD, your attitude towards God; your constant presence with GOD, involving Him in your thought and action all day long. Being godly manifests itself in how your heart responds to that will of GOD, followed by your action in obedience to that will. So if I simply go about life with little or no thought of God’s place amid the issues encountered on a daily basis, engaging with the innumerable and complex matters of life with an attitude of I can deal with this… even though I pride myself as being a very good Christian; sad to say, I am not godly, according to the standard of Christ.
Being godly manifests itself in how your heart responds to that will of GOD, followed by your action in obedience to that will.
Being godly is about being Christ-centred. Being godly is about having constant intimacy with God. It entails continuously thinking about Him, listening for His voice of instruction, encouragement, or affirmation and seeking His will concerning every encounter. It is about asking for His view on “what the narrow gate way is (W.I.T.N.G).
Do you hear God speak to you saying, “go, or don’t go yet”; “speak now or wait and speak later” or “don’t speak at all”? Do you hear God say to you, “not now”; I am protecting you, wait”? Does CHAT TO YOU ABOUT THINGS AROUND you, saying, “Isn’t that interesting, see how that plant grows”. Do you experience illumination about an aspect of scripture dawn on you and you can’t wait to open the Bible and allow God to help you understand it better? “Is your ear inclined to God; not only when someone preaches to you, but in your everyday life?
In conclusion, being godly entails regular inner communication with God, listening for His responses as one converses with Him. It is a state of admiration of His attributes, His greatness, love, kindness, faithfulness, power, wisdom, majesty and glory. It requires relating with God, not solely as a benefactor or provider; definitely not as a strict task master; but as the loving Father who engages human beings while they continue life within the Narrow Gateway. This, my dear friends, Life within the narrow gateway, is a practice of godliness. This is what the Bible teaches us. Particularly, in obedience to, 1 Timothy 4:7-8 which says, “…rather exercise your-self on godliness. For bodily exercise profits little; but godliness is profitable in all things, having promise of the life that is right now, and of that which is to come” (1Ti 4: 7b-8).
Are you seeking to KNOW His WILL in ALL SITUATIONS; unconditionally SUBMITTING to what He approves in every CIRCUMSTANCE, day or night, and then allowing Him to empower you to ALIGN with that perfect WILL? Someone once said, only if your life is entrenched in relationship with God, all day and all night, can you stand with a GOD-GIVEN STEEL in your conviction and only then can we have a hope that is not in vain.
A Word from Toyin
Thank you so much Funmi Amosun for submitting this lovely devotional. It moved me! I discussed my thoughts in the Video (see link above) and I also share a prayer and a “last word” on the video, so guys, please go ahead and watch the video as well. My prayer for everyone who read This Week’s Truth Turn Up is that you will join me in being real with the Lord – let’s admit whether we have got by for the last while on our own sense of goodness, thinking that this makes us godly. If this is you, I would urge you to be real with God about it and then link hands with Him, because He is every-merciful and ever-ready to partner with you. Let Him do the work of godliness in your heart. Please do feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this further or if you want some help or guidance regarding this topic.
Critically, I end this by saying, I am Toyin Oladiran, fully convicted by this devotional and very much still under construction in the hands of the Father.
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