Train to be Godly

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: And to Perseverance, Godliness.

What are you training to be?

From birth, we want our needs to be met. In fact, our lives depend on someone else meeting our needs. We want Mommy, Daddy, and everyone else in our small world to do what we want immediately. Our only concern is the self--which is appropriate for a helpless infant.

If we have loving parental care, our needs are met for food, cleanliness, comfort and companionship. As we develop, our parents or guardians begin to teach us that we need to become aware and considerate of the needs and comfort of others. We learn to be social. We model ourselves after the example our parents set for us.

We eventually become able to take care of ourselves. Many people grow beyond self-care to wanting to help meet the needs of others.

There is another stage of maturity beyond this social awareness which is spiritual awareness. We learn there is a God. Those who hear and respond to the Good News of Jesus have found the way to know that unseen God. If we want to be disciples of Jesus, we must train to be godly. (I Timothy 4:7-8) Godliness does not come naturally to us.

New Christians, like infants, are concerned about meeting their own spiritual needs. They depend on people to teach them how to live a Christian life. And that is appropriate for that stage of a new spiritual life.

But God wants his children to mature beyond that early stage. (Hebrews 4:11-14) By keeping our attention focused on our Heavenly Father, we imitate his character and his values. We mature beyond that early stage into responsible, faithful members of God’s family. (II Peter 1:5-7)

How can we know God the Father? Jesus told us that if we have seen him, we have seen the Father because the Father lives in him. (John 14: 8-12) We can see Jesus in the four accounts of his life, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the New Testament. We can know what he taught through the entirety of the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New. He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), we are practicing godliness. *

Godliness* is keeping the mind and heart focused on God and doing everything to please God. Pleasing God is the goal of a Christian. (I Thessalonians 4:1) God is providing whatever we need to grow into maturity so that we are no longer infants spiritually. (Ephesians 4:11-15) When Jesus returns, our transformation will be complete. We will be like him as God intended from the beginning. (I John 3:1-3; Genesis 1:27)

*Editor’s Note: “…godliness denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to him.”2150  The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

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