Sunday, April 17, 2011

What is Godliness?

The word godliness has been running and running through my mind, challenging me to that question, What is godliness?

I’m not meaning a Webster’s Dictionary or Strong’s Concordance definition. I’m not looking for where the word originated and what meaning does it have today. I don’t want to sit and analyze it. I don’t care if it’s a noun, or a verb, or an adjective, or a what-have-you. I’m not after a theological seminary type answer.

What I want to know is what is godliness.

I used to think I knew. Perfection and godliness were two exact things to me. I used to believe that godliness was something you did. Something that you strove for. Something you attained through work. Something you could see. It was a form, something that you put on. Godliness was an appearance.

It was also something that you were enslaved to. Something that no matter how hard you tried you still would never totally and completely attain, though that was still your goal. It was something that God harshly demanded. Something that made every day an uphill struggle to reach. Something that made you a failure if you did not succeed in it. I became so consumed by my godliness that there was room for nothing else in my heart.

I have found that there are many how-to articles and messages related to this subject. I used to soak them up like a sponge. I was on a quest for godliness, and I thought I knew what godliness was.

But now I’m not so sure.

I found I could sure look godly. It’s easy to wear a godly mask.

Yet I realized that’s exactly what the Pharisees did… They looked, sounded, and acted so godly. But they didn’t have room in their hearts for Jesus Christ.

I began to question my meaning of godliness.

And God answered my question.

God said my righteousness was filthiness in His sight.

God said He did not come to call people like me who were so righteous.

God said my good works were nothing.

God said I was nothing.

Nothing echoed in the deep empty premises of my heart.


I was stripped and naked in shame before a holy God. My godliness lay in ashes at my feet. My mask had melted in obliteration and I was nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

And then I saw the Cross. I saw all my godliness, all my works, all my filthy righteousness, all my hypocrisy, all my shame, all my guilt, all my sin, all my hopelessness, all my cursed existence, all my nothingness, all of it on that cross in the form of the Son of God. My whole shattered being was up there. His blood dripped down, staining the ground in crimson.

And I realized I was horribly nothing.

And God said I was nothing.

But now that I was nothing there was a Savior. A Savior who loved me so much He took upon Himself my utter worthlessness that I may become the child of God.

His Blood cleansed me and washed away all my filthy godliness, works, righteousness, hypocrisy, shame, guilt, sin, hopelessness, and my cursed existence.

He removed the curse in my life. My mask was gone, and I didn’t miss it. My heart was free. My guilt was no longer existent. My soul had hope.

I was now nothing… But God was something.

But what about my godliness? Isn’t that something I must strive after yet? Perfection? Righteousness? Isn’t that all a part of Christianity?

Jesus Christ is my righteousness. His glorious salvation has given me freedom. He’s my Savior. He fills me with Himself, with His Spirit. And that is where true godliness lies.

My hope is sure, my faith is strong, my eternity is secured.

I am nothing. Absolutely nothing.

But God is something. 

[Originally written in December 2005, I thought it appropriate as we celebrate Palm Sunday and look forward to re-living the death and resurrection of our Savior.]


LeAnna said...

Praise God! My Godliness is found in the Cross. Christ IS my sabbath rest, my passover lamb, my year of jubilee and my redemption. Glory!

Anonymous said...

yikes, this is gonna stay with me for years (if not the rest of my life).. you really hit that nail HARD! thank you!

Anonymous said...

Love it Britt!