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What is godliness, anyway?

by Charles Swindoll

THIS brings us to a bottom-line ques­tion I seldom hear addressed these days: What exactly does it mean to be godly? Now be careful. Try hard not to link your answer with a certain .1 geography or culture or traditional mentality. It is easy to let our preju­dices seep through and erroneously define the concept on the basis of our bias.

•  Does it mean someone who lives
high up in the mountains, cuts wood
to heat his log cabin, and reads his
Bible under the flickering flame of a
kerosene lamp?

•  Or how about this? The godly
person must be old, deliberate, one

   who prays for hours every day, and doesn't watch much television. Is that godliness?

•  Can a person be godly and yet
competitive in business, keen think­
ing, and financially successful?

•  Is it possible  to be  godly and
drive a Porsche... and never get mar­
ried and... (hold on!) not go to church
every Sunday evening?

•  Does being holy require that I
squat on a hillside, strum a guitar with

    my eyes closed, eat a bagful of bird­seed, and write religious music from the book of Psalms?

• Are people disqualified if they
are good athletes or if they are famous
entertainers (with agents!) or if they
are rich or if they have champagne
tastes or if they wear diamonds and
furs? Can anybody in that category

be a godly Christian?

* One more... and this may hurt. How about believers who still strug­gle, who don't have some of the theo­logical issues settled, who don't un­derstand many of the hymns sung in church, who don't read a lot of mis­sionary biographies ... and who don't necessarily go along with the whole Moral Majority package?

Oh, oh... now I've done it. So far you have been willing to hang in there with me, but now you really aren't sure. Before you categorize me, tar and feather me, and toss everything out — baby and bathwater alike — please understand that I'm just asking a few questions. I'm probing, honest­ly trying to discover the answer to a simple question: What is godliness?

You'll have to agree that it can't be confused with how a person looks (hard as it is for us to get beyond that) or what a person drives or owns. As tough as it is for us to be free of envy and critical thoughts, it is imperative that we remind ourselves that "God looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7); therefore, whatever we may say god­liness is, it is not skin deep. It is some­thing below the surface of a life, deep down in the realm of an attitude... an attitude toward God himself.         (£1

From Strengthening Your Grip, by Charles Swin­doll. © 1982 Charles Swindoll. To be released in July 1982 by Word Books Publishers, Waco, Texas 76796.




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