Godly Living In An Ungodly World
“Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world.” Titus 2:12
The character of a Christian is never completely stabilized, until he accepts the fact that he is a square peg in a round hole. He is committed to live a godly life in an ungodly world. This is required not only by the passage cited above by many others.
Godliness has sometimes been defined as “godlikeness.” Though a simple definition, and not seriously misleading, it is still not exactly accurate. Godliness is rather a word that described an attitude toward God. W. E. Vine, an authority on New Testament words, says that it “denotes that piety which, characterized by a godward attitude, does that which is well pleasing to Him.”
This “godward attitude” may be illustrated by comparing a confirmed bachelor with a devoted husband. The bachelor makes all his decisions on his own with his own interests the primary, or only, consideration. The faithful loving husband is different. Every decision is made with concern for his wife. He may not always decide to do just what she would wish, but he always calculates her reaction and acts with that in mind. She is so much a part of him that she cannot be disregarded.
God is so much a part of the thinking of a godly man that He cannot be disregarded. Every decision takes into account what God has said or whether God will approve. God’s word is searched to find even the slightest hint as to what God’s will might be in any given situation. Prayer has a major role in his search for solutions to life’s problems. As suggested in Vine’s definition, pleasing God is the goal of his life; displeasing God is that which he most desires to avoid.
With this description of godliness in mind, it is clear that the world around us is ungodly. The average man on the street never gives God a thought in choosing his occupation, his life’s companion, or his place of residence - to say nothing of his recreation or wardrobe. He may give God a passing thought on an occasional Sunday morning, and he may not be particularly immoral, but to say that God dominates his life would be to overstate the case by a considerable margin.
The ungodly man finds it difficult to understand the action of the godly. The godly have faith, and act in view of, and with consciousness of One whom the faithless, physical eye cannot see.
The ungodly and faithless Egyptians must have found it difficult to understand why Moses “forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king” (Hebrews 11:27). The latter part of the verse explains it: “For he endured as seeing him who is invisible.”
The ungodly world is not content simply to misunderstand the godly man. It has ever persecuted those who were different. “Yea, and all who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus explained to his disciples: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19).
As ungodliness increases in our world, the godly man may expect to be more and more the object of ridicule. True conversion involves the crucifixion of the flesh with the lust and passion thereof (Galatians 5:24).
This is putting to death that part of our personality that is concerned with what men may think of us and what they may do to us.
It is changing masters, so that pleasing God is our sole concern. Only then can we “live godly in this present world.”
- Sewell Hall