Peter tells us that we are to add godliness to our faith in 2 Peter 1:6.
“Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness.” (2 Peter 1:5-6)
Just what is godliness, exactly? Are we supposed to be like God? In a way, yes, but perhaps not in the way we might think. We could never be omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient for starters, so what could godliness mean?
Consider what comes to mind when you think of a godly person. For me, it has to do with the way they behave. Do they live a life pleasing to God, showing qualities like love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Perhaps, but there’s more to it than outward behavior when we’re speaking of the godliness mentioned here by Peter.
HELPS Word studies defines godliness as “someone’s inner response to the things of God which shows itself in reverence.” It “naturally expresses itself in reverence for God.”
The godliness Peter encourages us to develop and add to our faith is a quality that begins in our hearts. Our outward behavior should be an accurate reflection of what’s going on inside. If we’re showing reverence for God and his ways in our thoughts, it will naturally begin to be evident in how we live.
Being reverent toward God will lead to outward behavior that pleases him, and this is where others may see us as godly people. There is only One who will know the truth about our hearts, though!
“People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Behavior modification may lead to good behavior, but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart. True godliness springs from within, and is an attribute to strive for.
How can we work on our godliness? Since it begins with reverence for God and his ways, it relies on actually knowing God and his ways! Start studying his attributes, and meditate on them. What do they mean for you in your life, as well as for believers around the world? (For a beginner’s guide, check out 15 Amazing Attributes of God: What They Mean and Why They Matter) Spending time contemplating God himself will lead you to reverence for him.
Paul encourages Timothy to train himself to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7) and to pursue godliness (1 Timothy 6:11). Those are action words! But again, we don’t have to do this on our own. Peter also tells us that “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3). I’m so thankful we have some help here!
What will you do today to cultivate your inner reverence for God, and begin to supplement your faith with godliness?
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