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
• 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.