Godliness: conforming to the laws and wishes of God.
Paul uses word godliness nine times in 1 Timothy (in the Holman Christian translation at least- I memorize in that version often). Here’s screenshots showing these times:
1 Tim. 3:16 provides a foundation for why and how Paul can charge Timothy and all believing readers to pursue godliness. Jesus has come from God the Father and has made Him known (John 1:18) and has made full and final atonement for the sins of His people (Hebrews 9:24-28).
Because of this, Christians in all stations of life all over the globe can live godly lives. The Spirit doesn’t leave us alone to guess the best way to do this, either! Here are some ways, per the above verses:
- Thank God for and pray for all people. Ask God to save those near and far, weak and powerful – petition for them to brought near to God by Christ the Mediator. In this way we please God and live tranquil and quiet lives, practicing godliness through intercessory prayer.
- Avoid irreverent and silly myths. Seek to know God’s Word well enough to identify what is irreverent and worthless and don’t waste your time on those things. Reject foolish controversies. Don’t get entangled in civilian affairs. Instead, fight within yourself to be a peacemaker who thinks and speaks about the gospel of peace. Needs must, delete your social media accounts. Switch over to a dumb phone. Swap out some or all of watching or listening to the news with something more focused on the things above. Pray for the lost while you’re exercising – physical training does have some benefit, after all 😉
- Honor your family. Practice godliness towards them by seeking to care for them. Paul specifically addresses children and grandchildren caring for widows in their families here. From the whole of the Word we know that God blesses His people so that they can be a blessing to others. If blessed with the world’s goods, the professing believer should use them to aid brothers and sisters and to alleviate the suffering of others whenever possible (Isaiah 58:1-10, 1 John 3:16-17). It can be a cup of cold water or a big check. Don’t wait around. Think about how freely He gave and be beyond cheerful as you store up treasures in heaven!
- Right along with that: be content with what you have. Paul contrasts people who imagine that godliness is a way to make money with those who are rightly convinced that Jesus is more precious than hundred dollar bills and nice cars (or whatever you’ll shell out cash for to try to be happier). How will you respond when temptation to love money and temporary stuff arises? Paul says: run away from those temptations! Instead, he writes, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”
Just today I had a moment when I chose to listen to a catchy song with a very temporary focus. I felt a restless old-self feeling of worrying that maybe I’m missing out on something with my seemingly mundane day-to-day life. By grace I did run- toward Christ and His perfect righteousness. I turned the song off and turned to prayer, asking for eyes to see the eternal reality of God’s perfect Kingdom. He answered that petition immediately and brought much joy and refreshment and the desire to show love and gentleness towards my family.
Throughout my life as a believer I’ve affirmed that the words Paul wrote are true based off of a conviction that Scripture is inerrant. It’s true. And now by the Spirit’s continued work in me I am seeing them to be trustworthy in moment by moment real life. Growing in the godliness Christ gives has no downsides. It holds promise for right now and for the life that’s coming. Let me know how I can encourage and pray for you in your pursuit of God.