By BRUCE GREEN
Teaching Minister at 10th Street Church of Christ
The words godliness and godly are found 25 times in the New Testament with 11 of those occurrences being in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. That’s a high concentration and out of proportion with the words’ infrequent usage in the rest of the NT. In fact, when the words are used, they tend to be clustered in certain writings. Peter uses the two words five times in his two letters, while Paul uses godly four times in 2 Corinthians.
Although you might think it, godliness is not becoming more like God (though it will certainly lead to that). Godliness is rather responsiveness toward God. It is the humble honoring of Him that comes as the result of sensitivity to the sacred. It is the opposite of the ungodly Esau who sold his birthright (and the spiritual blessings attached to that) for a single meal (Hebrews 12:16). He had no sense of or appreciation for the sacred. Those who speak of God as the Sky Fairy or the Sky Daddy, are by definition, displaying their godlessness.
Being godly is not the same thing as spiritual in the way the word is used today. Spiritual just means someone has some type of belief system. They worship life, wonder, themselves or maybe nothing at all. When you are spiritual — anything (or nothing) can be your center. When you are godly — God is at the center.
And now let’s talk about the baseball glove.
The glove is in its fifth decade. As you might guess, it’s played a lot of ball over the years. It’s caught baseballs, softballs and tennis balls (great to use with young children). I’ve tried to take care of it — I use baby oil to keep the leather soft and looking good.
We played some ball recently out in our backyard. Our adult son used the glove and was amazed at how soft and limber it was — you can easily flex it. Gloves don’t come that way. When a glove is new, it is stiff and needs to be broken in. The baby oil helps with that but so does putting a baseball inside your glove whenever you’re not using it. But the main way you break a glove in is by using it — there is no substitute for that.
All of this speaks to godliness. It was Augustine who said we were made for God and are restless until we find Him. The glove is made for a baseball but initially it’s stiff and not as responsive as it could be. Over time that can change. No matter who you are or how you are raised, we all start out as stiff and unresponsive to God (Moses, the man of God, had to be told to take off his sandals). Godliness is the process of us becoming more sensitive to God.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).
You can find more of Bruce’s writings at his website: a-taste-of-grace-with-bruce-green.com