GODLINESS: Living and Loving Like Christ

As we’re walking through the lessons learned by evaluating the life of Joseph, let me ask you this question: What does it mean to make – and keep – Jesus the center of our lives? The word center is defined as “a person (or thing) that is the chief object of attention, interest, activity or emotion; that which everything else revolves around.” Is Jesus the center of your life? Of my life? We can be certain Jesus was the center of Joseph’s life.

Salvation comes when we choose to invite Jesus to be the center of our lives. But what about keeping Him there? Purposefully keeping Jesus at the center of our lives is called sanctification, and it means actively living a life aimed at growing in godliness. So what does it mean to be godly? Godliness means we have centered our lives in Christ, and, in my mind, it has two separate but equal parts:

  • We purpose to LIVE like Christ.
    • LIVING like Christ involves our:
      • Heart: We LOVE like Jesus
      • Hands: We ACT like Jesus
      • Head: We THINK like Jesus
    • LIVING like Christ means filtering out impurities in our lives.
      • What are we listening to, watching, reading, etc.?
      • We purposefully focus on growing in virtue:
        • The 10 Commandments | Exodus 20
        • The Beatitudes | Matthew 5
        • The Love Chapter | I Corinthians 13
        • The Fruit of Spirit | Galatians 5:22,23
    • LIVING like Christ involves growing in spiritual disciplines.
      • We practice spiritual disciplines to build spiritual muscle and to produce spiritual fruit.
  • We live to LOVE like Christ.
    • LIVING like Christ involves three things:
      • Fear: We revere Jesus.
        • Exodus 14:31 The people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses His servant.
        • Exodus 15:11 Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
      • Love: We love Jesus.
        • I John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
        • I John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
      • Desire: We desire to have an intimate, close relationship with Jesus.
        • Psalm 42:1-2  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
        • Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Our aim is to center our lives around Christ, not to have Christ center His life around us. Jesus is not an extra add-in. He is life itself, and everything revolves around Him. This is what it means to live a godly life!

Now that we’ve identified what it means to be godly, how do we grow in godliness?

  • Study God’s Word.
    • Titus 1:1  Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.
  • Run from sin.
    • I Timothy 6:11  But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
  • Make it a priority.
    • 2 Peter 1:5-7  make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 
  • Pray.
    • John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.
  • Walk in obedience.
    • Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appear to all men. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Practice spiritual disciplines.
    • 1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 

In his book The Practice of Godliness, Jerry Bridges says, “Godliness is devotion to God which results in a life that is pleasing to Him. Devotion is impotent without action; action is dry and sterile without devotion. We need an inward foundation of God-centeredness in order to build an outward structure of Godlikeness.” In a commentary of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus by Hughes and Chapel, they write that, “It is clear that Paul focused on the practical life of the church, the godliness of the people was of intense concern.” They go on to say, “For Paul, godliness is not a static, stained glass word. It is active — kinetic obedience that springs from a reverent awe of God.“ The godly among us are those people whose reverent worship of God flows into obedience throughout the week. Only God-struck doers of the Word can rightly be termed godly.

Clearly Joseph was a man who lived a godly life. As we evaluate his life and seek to emulate it, let’s look at the marks of a godly man that we have addressed and will address throughout the remainder of our ELEVATE series:

  1. Vision — Embrace God’s vision for your life and don’t be dissuaded.
  2. Integrity — Resist temptation to do wrong and do the right thing.
  3. Faith — Trust God regardless of the circumstances.
  4. Money — Master your money and don’t let it master you.
  5. Godliness — Reach high for God’s ideal and answer His call to be godly.
  6. Relationships — Honor Christ by honoring others.
  7. Courage — Show strength of character and robust resolve by moving boldly with God.
  8. Leadership — Serve others as Christ has served you.

I hope you’ve been enjoying our evaluation of Joseph’s life as much as I have. While it may not be easy to evaluate at these areas in our lives, it is vital to our growth. Aren’t you thankful we have godly examples like Joseph to emulate? I look forward to what comes next as we seek to elevate our lives and become who God has called us to be.