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Constant media headlines remind us of how distant our world seems from God. Just a few choices that compromise what we know to be right, will often take us down a path we never intended to go.
Godly living in an ungodly age may not seem so easy in this life. And apart from the Spirit of God living and breathing through us, it would most likely be an impossible feat.
At times we might find ourselves wondering, “What does it even mean to live godly? Is it really that important? No one's perfect, right? Why even try?" Or maybe we don’t think of our own lives as even being worthy of such a description. Yet godliness is not simply reserved for those we view as the "Christian All-Star Team" of today. It’s not a life meant only to define dynamic speakers, worship leaders, powerful influencers, or the super saints of days gone by. It's not linked to how successful one may be in the world's eyes, how much money someone has, or how many people know their name. Godly living is God's call to you. And to me.
1 Timothy 6:11 says to “pursue godliness,” to follow after it, which clearly indicates it won’t just happen upon us. It won’t “find us.” We must make the choice to actively pursue it.
Godliness is defined as “showing great reverence for God, obedient to the commands of God from love for, and reverence of, his character; conformed to God's law; devout; righteous.” Yet maybe God’s definition goes deeper than a mere external show of righteous living. It reveals the heart.
Walking as one who is godly means living a life that is God focused – God centered. It doesn’t mean we live perfectly, but it does mean we live in such a way that seeks, more than anything else, to represent and honor our Lord in all that we do, every decision, every action, every thought, every word.
God’s word contains numerous examples, stories, and instructions of what typifies the life of the godly, for both men and women.
Psalm 1 shows us 7 attributes of one who is living a truly God-centered life. You probably won't see these things in the most popular trends, hot topics, or Hollywood culture of today, but it's what God says is important, for our lives, and for our families.
7 Marks of the Godly from Psalm 1:
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers...For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." v. 1-3, 6
His life is blessed - “Blessed is the one….” v. 1 - He is blessed by God. He prospers. He is happy, he knows God has good in store. This doesn't necessarily refer only to the external blessings that we can see on the outside, but the internal blessings of a life that is complete and secure in God. It doesn't mean he never has a bad day or that he doesn't face struggles and trials, but that in whatever he walks through in this life, he believes the Lord has ultimate good and purpose in it all.
He keeps himself from evil - He “does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers…”v. 1 - He has a walk of integrity, humility, dependence upon God, and lives a life of self-control. He chooses to set himself apart from sin, temptation, or those who walk contrary to God’s ways. He knows the importance of surrounding himself with those who challenge him in truth and makes wise choices for living.
He has a love for God’s truth - He is the one “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” v. 2 - He has a heart and love for God’s word. He immerses himself in the Word, spends time reading it, and thinking about it throughout the day. It is his very guide for life; he lives by it, leads by it, and seeks to know God’s wisdom.
He lives a life of strength – He “is like a tree planted by streams of water…” v. 3 - His character is strong. He is wise. He knows where life is found, and knows where to plant himself. His roots dig down deep into the foundation of God’s truth. He soaks up truth to nourish his spirit. The water he draws from is not stagnant or stale, but he receives a constant supply from the fresh flowing stream of living water that never runs dry. He depends on God for life itself. Even in intense times of trial, when drought, heat, and darkness in the world surround him, he is not affected, because he draws from the Source that gives true life.
He has a fruit-filled life - His life “yields its fruit in season…” v. 3 - There is good that comes from the life of the godly. He has positive, valuable, and fruitful, influence on the lives of those around him. The fruits of God’s spirit are evidenced in his life - love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. He trusts God through every season of life. He waits for Him, for His timing. He acknowledges his deep dependency on Him.
God’s favor is with him - He is the one “whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” v. 3 - He is prosperous. He works hard. He does not run dry, for God is with Him, equipping, filling, and blessing. His spirit is healthy, active, and growing. God’s favor is evident in his life, and he is successful in all that He calls him to do. It is not mere outward prosperity that is the true measure of God’s favor; but a deeper, more significant soul prosperity.
God watches over his way - “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous…” v. 6 - He walks close to God. God protects him and knows, or watches over his way. His eyes are towards him and His ears are open to his prayers. His future is secure and safe in God’s hands. No matter what he is up against, even in the face of death, God is with him, both in this life and the next.
Now, maybe more than ever before, our world needs godly men and women who are willing to press in close to God, take a stand for Him, and make a mark in this generation and the ones to come, for His purposes.
May His love be what propels us, may His Spirit be what fills us.
We pray that you would raise up a mighty, new gathering of godly men and women for your Kingdom. We pray that you would bless those who seek first after you, we pray that you would give wisdom and help keep our feet from evil influence, we pray that you would instill a love and fervor for your Truth, we pray that you would fill us with a life of strength as we depend on you, we pray that fruitfulness would be evident in our lives and others would know that it is only there by your good hand, we pray that your favor would shine over your people, we pray that your protection would guard our way and keep us safe.
May you be honored through our lives in all that you lead us to do, in every place that you lead us to walk, in every word that you lead us to speak. We confess our need for you. Help us to live strong, love well, and lead wisely.
In Jesus’ Name,
(This article first posted in April 2015)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page,http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel or www.debbiemcdaniel.com.