I am currently reading a book by Jerry Bridges entitled The Practice of Godliness. I have only read four chapters thus far, but I had to stop and inform you all of some sweeping words already impacting my life.
Bridges makes this statement, “Godliness is no optional spiritual luxury for a few quaint Christians of a bygone era or for some group of super-saints of today.”
Just to set the context, he begins the book (like everyone should) by defining his terms. In this case, he defines what he means by godly and godliness. He points out that Paul emphasizes godliness to Timothy and Titus to which he exhorts them to pursue it. Then Bridges addresses Peter’s comments in 2 Peter 3:10-12 that we are to live holy and godly lives. Peter also began the letter by saying, “everything we need for life and godliness” has been given to us (2 Peter 1:3). So, godliness is to be pursued. Now, the defining of godliness.
Bridges goes to Genesis to begin defining godliness from Scripture. The description of Enoch among his descendants should be strikingly different. If you were to read chapter five of Genesis you will find only one description that is missing the words “and he died.” Enoch did not die because he walked with God. So, the key to life (the opposite of death) is walking with God. Enoch is mentioned in Hebrews 11. It says that Enoch “was pleasing to God” (Heb. 11:5). It goes on to say in the next verse that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). So, it can be stated that Enoch was pleasing to God because of faith. The writer of Hebrews connects this pleasing faith with “for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
To further explain godliness Bridges describes the life of Enoch as a life “devoted to God.” He says this is the meaning of godliness. He goes on to say that godliness “is always devotion in action.” This attitude of devotion to God has three elements. Bridges asserts them as: the fear of God, the love of God, and the desire for God. With this context set, now the quotations.
It is sad that many Christians do not have this aura of godliness about them. They may be very talented and personable, or very busy in the Lord’s work, or even apparently successful in some avenues of Christian service, and still not be godly. Why? Because they are not devoted to God. They may be devoted to a vision, or to a ministry, or to their own reputation as a Christian, but not to God (p. 15).
These words drove me to ask of myself: What am I devoted to? What are my motivations? And in the depths of my heart what are my intentions? Our focus can easily be thwarted or numbed. I found in my heart an attitude of not acknowledging where my devotion was and is. I was in a mode of doing things without thinking (i.e. amused). If that were not enough, this next paragraph stung me as well.
It is possible to be very orthodox in one’s doctrine and very upright in one’s behavior and still not be godly. Many people are orthodox and upright, but they are not devoted to God; they are devoted to their orthodoxy and they standards of moral conduct (p. 36).
This quote again cut even deeper to the motivations of my heart. I hope you too will be exposed to your motivations and see to it that you are devoted to God.