Godliness: A Life-Long Quest | Benjamin T. Mathai, UK

Simon Peter was one of the first disciples chosen by Christ to follow Him. Years later, in a letter to the dispersed Church members, Peter posed a rhetorical question concerning the end of the world on the Day of the Lord. This was Peter’s question: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:10-13). How would we respond to that question? This is a difficult subject that everyone should frequently consider.

Today, the term and definition of godliness are far less common in daily speech. Its core encompasses those who are committed to God, walk in His footsteps, and exhibit godly behaviour. Godliness and Christian character are not the same thing. It goes far beyond that; it covers every aspect of a disciple’s life and provides the foundation around which Christian character is constructed. “Reverence, respect, piety towards God” is the meaning of the Greek noun from which the word is translated.

According to the New Testament, Timothy was a young Christian who received mentoring from Paul the apostle, who urged him to be a worthy minister or servant of Jesus Christ. “But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness”, Paul instructed him. Because godliness has promise for both the here and the hereafter, it is helpful in all respects, but physical exercise only yields temporary results (1 Timothy 4:7-8). By telling Timothy to “exercise yourself toward godliness” Paul meant that he should prepare himself, put effort into it, and stick with it. Paul went on to say that all things profit from this quality, including both the things of this world and the life to come.

The phrase “train yourself to be godly” appears in certain English translations of the Bible, emphasising and promoting individual accountability. Take note of the opening of Paul’s letter to Titus, a fellow young clergyman in charge of churches on the island of Crete. In Titus 1:1, Paul wrote: “the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness.” The apostle’s primary thought was that those he taught sought this essential element.

As he continued to speak to Titus, Paul urged him to impart the lesson that, in anticipation of the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ, Christians must reject worldly lusts and live a sober and upright life (Titus 2:11–15). Paul wanted to draw attention to the crossing of two ages or worlds to inspire God’s people to live morally upright lives despite hardship. This is a necessary way of life, not something additional.

Simon Peter admitted that he was a bondservant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. He also affirmed that disciples receive everything necessary for a godly life through God’s divine power, which causes them to share in the divine nature needed to enter Christ’s Kingdom upon His return (2 Peter 1:1–4). Imagine this: God provides all the necessities for a life that pleases Him to His children, since they are called by His grace and glory.

Those who are called by God ought to understand that pursuing godliness, training for it, practising it, and mastering it are both privileges and obligations. We don’t need any specific skills or tools to complete this duty, but we do need God’s divine power, the Holy Spirit, personal motivation, and the support and direction of other Christians.

Let us take Enoch as an example to show the basis upon which divine character is constructed. In Genesis 5:21–24, the Bible says that he walked with God in the days preceding the Flood. He pleased God, according to Hebrews 11:5. The core of spirituality is pleasing God and walking in obedience to him. God was the main person in Enoch’s life and his primary source of inspiration.

Godly devotion is significant because it suggests an attitude toward God that leads to actions that please Him. “Doing our daily devotions” is not an activity. Fear of God, love for God, and a desire for God should all be a part of our devotion, touching every area of our lives and serving Him to the fullest (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Colossians 3:17 shows another way of putting it. Paul says that we should always act in the name of the Lord Jesus in all we do, from our deepest thoughts to our outward actions. Nothing ought to be left out. It can’t have any openings, or obscure or concealed spaces or voids.

Is this challenging? Indeed! However, this is the main idea of the first great commandment, which is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Matthew 22:37–38 states, “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.



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