January 26, 2015

God honors godliness

Sometimes those who believe in God are ridiculed, considered fools, and put down for ‘parking’ their brains. However, this is not grounded in reality. In fact, Christianity is the only organism (living thing) I know that has members in the full range of intelligence. I’ve met Christians who are mentally slow and Christians with high IQ’s. Most of us can remember times in which we acted foolishly, yet God freely offers His wisdom to us. We do not earn or deserve it, but God doesn’t measure us the way the world measures people. At the same time, He does reward obedience and godliness.

After Joseph interpreted the dreams of the Egyptian Pharaoh concerning a coming famine, and after he advise this leader to find someone to tend to what must be done, the Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38)

Soon after he said it, he set Joseph over the land and when the famine came, and when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.” (Genesis 41:55)

This Pharaoh didn’t ask his servants to find someone with leadership qualities, nor did he look for seniority or other qualities and skills. He looked for godliness. He declared to everyone that Joseph man would take care of them and they were supposed to do as Joseph said – and this was a pagan king who worshiped idols!

Later, Solomon wrote about the qualities of godliness that make a difference in the life of those who have them. He said, “If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.” (Ecclesiastes 10:4)  A godly person does not get bent out of shape when accused, even by a king or a leader. That calm spirit in such situations comes from the Lord. It makes a difference in how others treat us, even when they rise against us.

Solomon also said, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10) He uses comparison to say that failing to do the obvious will make the work harder, but not only that, a wise person will be successful. Godly people are diligent, resourceful, and wise. This is not about intelligence, but faithfulness and obedience.

The NT tells Christians, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12—13)

The opposite of godliness is sin and sin comes out of an unbelieving heart. God calls that evil, and falling away, and being deceived. That means that godly people are pure and good. They stay close to God with hearts that are soft toward Him and each other, alert and aware, not deceived or fooled by sin.

How is this even possible? We are weak people, tempted constantly and often seem to earn the labels non-believing people put on us. However, we have Jesus. He is our high priest, able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He did become one of us, was in every respect tempted as we are, yet He did not sin. Because of Him, we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15–16)

The Bible says that Jesus is our wisdom and is certainly our godliness also, giving us Himself through the work of the Holy Spirit. Living in obedience to Him is the key to living in a godly way, and the key to experiencing how God honors those who honor Him. 


Judi S. Brantley said...

Good Morning Mrs. Montgomery! So, this morning you had me weeping and weeping with your devotional. Thank you. Words of wisdom from on high -- they were for me. As I am sure so many other who read them.



Elsie Montgomery said...

Judi, you are a super encourager. I'm sure many Christians have this feeling of "who cares" when they share what God is saying to them. Your response puts that negativity right where it belongs! Many blessings, Elsie