16 – What Is ‘Godliness’?

Godliness, etymologically speaking, means living like there is a god above.

To be “godly” means that one is not the greatest power in one’s life. It means that one is not a spiritual orphan, but has a greater, can-handle-all Master watching over, teaching, correcting, punishing, loving, rewarding, funding, preparing, training, enjoying, cheering, catching, and seeing in all that one does.

This Master is not imagined by mere Human creativity, as Blaise Pascal said, “God created man in His own image and man returned the favor.” This Master is higher, above all adversaries and threats, able to save and help and rear from birth to death throughout life on Earth.

People who live without consciously knowing about such a greater Master behave, in spiritual terms, as if they were raised by wolves. They lack self-control in some matters, but not others. They often pontificate as if their “wonderful ideas about God” are an attempt to receive epistemological validation for the first time. They conflict inside, are unsure of their theological direction, and thus lack some—not all—necessary qualities of a leader. Their followers, likewise, will in some ways behave as if they too were raised by wolves—including Christian children.

We emulate and behave and think according to who and what we believe our “god” to be. We often get our view of God from the adults in our lives. If a parent is godless, we may struggle to believe in any God at all.

Anything can be a “god”, including verbal abuse, drugs, money, calendars, indecision, education, philosophy, theology, nature, entertainment, one’s own ego, and especially Sunday morning.

One who truly believes in the God who first said, “Let there be light,” will often and intentionally bring light, hope, guidance, and encouragement to others. To be godly in “Biblical” terms is to know the need for lifelong study and, firstly, every human’s need for forgiveness and redemption, primarily redemption for oneself and thereby secondarily redeeming others.

The God of the Bible is mighty, to be always trusted and never tested. Knowing that brings strength to the heart, both the confidence of being loved and having fear of nothing else. The Bible calls this adoption.

Genesis 4:26, John 1:12-13, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Peter 1:5-9