When you listen to children read you will hear a lot of interesting versions of words. On one such occasion, godliness was read as God-lines. As I heard the word I thought, “That is not bad.” We should look at our maturing in godliness not just as something we are striving for, but something that is also guiding us. These heavenly guidelines (God-lines) are keeping us on track to take on the characteristics of the One who receives our devotion.
We might summarize godliness as pious conduct done with a desire to please God. There are those that practice piety that love pleasure more than God (2 Tim. 3:1-5). There are others who do it because of the praise of men (Matt. 6:1-18). True godliness is an action toward God and must be done in order to please Him, not man (Gal. 1:10).
Godliness is something that is profitable to those that are faithful to its tenants. Paul wrote how godliness was profitable for all things (1 Tim. 4:7-8; 6:6). It is profitable for our life right now (Matt. 6:33; Mark 10: 28-30), and it is profitable for our life to come (Mark 10:30; Rom 6:22). Peter wrote of how it was beneficial in view of the things to come (2 Pet. 3:10-14). The universe, the earth and all its works will be destroyed, and for this reason, we should focus on holy conduct and godliness which give promise of the life to come.
Godliness isn’t just profitable but also powerful for those that practice it. Paul warned about those “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Tim. 3:5). It is implied that there is true godliness and this true godliness contains “power.” If our conduct pleases God, He empowers us! He works in us as we strive to do His will (Phil. 2:12-13). He strengthens us by His Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16) with a power beyond comprehension (Eph. 3:20). He enables us to stand strong in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10-13).
Godliness requires exercise, just as Paul counseled Timothy (1 Tim. 4:7-8). Just as physical exercise provides benefit for healthy living, even more so, spiritual exercise provides benefit for godly living. Paul mentioned the type of spiritual exercise needed (1 Tim. 4:12-16)—setting a good example for others, giving attention to reading God’s Word, to exhortation and to doctrine. We must make good use of our abilities and opportunities. If we focus our efforts on such things, then our progress will be evident. Peter said it requires “giving all diligence” (2 Pet. 1:5). We must be in the pursuit of godliness (1 Tim. 6:11)!
It is easy to see how a child could get confused when reading godliness, but God-lines is not far off. Godliness is not just something to achieve. It’s also a guideline for the heart.