Godly Desires

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My Musings – Living a Godly life should be the goal of every Christian. It is certainly something that God desires for us. Being Godly means aligning our desires with His. He has shown us what this requires, in the Old Testament no less. They are to love mercy, act justly and walk humbly. Not simply mercy, justice and humility. Those are mere nouns. God calls us to love mercy, to act justly and to walk humbly. Our mercy, justice and humility involve action. These actions saw their ultimate fulfillment with Jesus death, burial and resurrection. He humbly walked that path to the cross. His act of dying on the cross paid the penalty for our sins and satisfied what justice required. His resurrection demonstrated God’s loving mercy towards us in accepting the sacrifice Jesus made.

But loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly are foreign to our sin nature. In our natural sinful state, we tend to be just the opposite. We love power, we act evilly, and we walk proudly (Micah 2:1, 3). These are all the hallmarks of worldliness. These two forces continue to do battle within us. But thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, God tread our sins under foot and is able to show us compassion if we accept His Son’s sacrifice. He in fact delights in showing us mercy (Micah 7:18, 19). As a result, we can aspire to God’s desires, we can act in obedience to Him and this can develop into a consistent lifestyle. We can be transformed from the worldly creature that is our nature, into a new creation with a Godly character.

To live Godly lives, it is helpful to better understand the nature and character of the God we serve. Of course, our finite minds can never fully grasp the awesome nature and character of an infinite God. After all, if the whole universe cannot contain Him, this short blog cannot either. But we can understand Him to the extent He has revealed Himself to us. Even then we are only able to see the “outer fringes” of His true glory. Indeed, what we see and hear is but a “faint whisper” of reality.

Some of the things that God has revealed to us about Himself fall into three broad categories, if we can indeed categorize anything about Him. At any rate these three categories are:

His Being
(Infinite, Unchangeable, Eternal)

His Nature
(Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient)

His Moral Character
(Love, Holy, Good, Truth, Just)

His Being and nature are absolute attributes that only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have. We cannot aspire to these at all. Satan aspired to them and he fell. We can aspire to His moral character attributes, however. Of course, only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have these attributes absolutely. But we can aspire to them in relative terms.

To aspire to what God desires, to aspire to Godliness, we need to grow in love, Holiness, goodness, truth and justice. As these characteristics grow and develop in our lives, we become better at loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly. We become less likely to love power, act evilly and walk proudly. For in the process God is teaching us to say no to our worldly passions and to live Godly lives.

Love – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8, NIV 1978). This is not emotion. It is His character. The text does not say God loves. It says that God is Love.

Holiness – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8, NIV 1978). Absolute in moral purity and rightness. Separate from evil, so much so that He cannot even bear to look upon sin. God has no “dark side.”

Goodness – “There is only One [God] who is good.” (Matthew 19:17, NIV 1978). Goes beyond the inner quality (His holiness) to the outward expression (His goodness), particularly in terms of His benevolence, loving-kindness and exercise of mercy.

Truth – “Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth; he who takes an oath in the land will swear by the God of truth.” (Isaiah 65:16, NIV 1978). Means more than no falsehood, but also includes certain, faithful, and reliable in fulfilling His promises.

Justice – “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.” (Daniel 4:37, NIV 1978). Used interchangeably with righteousness. He is absolutely right and just in all that He says or does.

My Advice – Worldliness (following worldly desires) is the natural enemy of Godliness (following Godly desires), and something we continually must be on guard against and resist. But we must also be aware of another subtler enemy – compromise.  Compromise is the attempt to have it both ways, to gain Godliness while enjoying the pleasures of this world. It is a lie of the enemy.

Worldliness – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15, NIV 1978).  This is like chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:11).  It results in discontent and suffering great loss (1 Corinthians 3:13, 15).

Compromise – “No servant can serve two masters. He will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13, NIV 1978).  This can result in complacency, a sense that we have all we need (Revelation 3:15, 17). This is a great con, for we fail to realize that in reality we are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked, lukewarm-neither hot nor cold.” (Revelation 3:17, 16).

Godliness – “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11, NIV 1978).  This leads to contentment (Philippians 4:11) and great gain (1 Timothy 4:8).

You can pursue the world, you can pursue a lie (believing you can have it both ways) or you can pursue God.  Only “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6, NIV 1978).  Desire what God desires.

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