Holiness, sanctification, devoutness, goodness, consecration, devotion, dedication, commitment… the list could go on. It gives us a broader idea of what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote to his spiritual son Timothy that he should pursue godliness (1 Timothy 6:11).
Let’s look at some of the instructions he gave Timothy regarding this matter. It is not something that will come from Heaven with special delivery, wrapped in gold and tied with strings of pearls. It’s something you work at; you train yourself.
Many will have as a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. We know that does not come easy; you have to work hard to lose the pounds. But if you stick with your resolution and set your mind to eating right and exercising, you will see positive results. Some, like my dad’s wife, might have the opposite problem. For her it’s a matter of how to gain some weight. She needs to make up her mind to eat some more calories!
These are some of the instructions on pursuing godliness that Timothy received from his friend and mentor Paul:
1 Timothy 4:7-8
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 6:3-10
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
How do we pursue godliness? Not by physical or financial means. We cannot do it on our own. We need God’s Holy Spirit. When we stand in awe of God’s holiness, we realize like the prophet Isaiah our uncleanness and vulnerability. But through Christ we are made clean and holy and can live a godly life.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
We need to realize God’s holiness and pursue godliness. As we saw in previous blogs, to pursue is to chase, to run after, to look for. We can’t sit idle, we need to “chase” and “run after” a godly life. We need to desire it with our very core.
Here is what the apostle Peter had to say:
1 Peter 1:14-16; 2:9
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
2 Peter 1:3-9
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. 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.
For this very reason, make every effort to…
- add to your faith goodness
- and to goodness, knowledge
- and to knowledge, self-control
- and to self-control, perseverance
- and to perseverance, godliness
- and to godliness, brotherly kindness
- and to brotherly kindness, love
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. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Are you, like me, waiting for Jesus return? When you look around and see all that is happening in the world you understand that he is coming very soon. There is a way to “speed” his coming!
2 Peter 3:11-13
Since everything will be destroyed in this way [read the context], what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.