What does it mean to be godly? It sounds pretty out of reach at first. My initial thoughts are ones of purity and holiness. That would be godly for sure, but those are only examples. To be godly is really pretty simple. It just means that something in my life resembles a characteristic of God. Nothing complicated about that. God is forgiving and if I am forgiving, I am godly. God is patient and if I am patient, I am godly. Let me suggest a quick step toward godliness that will do all sorts of cool things.
Yesterday, I was reading Ephesians 1:7-12 with my kids. Here is the part that really stood out to me:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Eph 1:7,8a
God is rich in grace and he lavishes it on us. How great is that? God has an abundance of grace. He is rich in it and he chooses to give it away to you and me in great quantity. God lavishes his grace on us. You are probably familiar with the simple definition of grace as “unmerited favor.” In other words, it is God giving us what we do not deserve. The financial adviser, Dave Ramsey, always likes to say “I am doing better than I deserve.” That little statement is really about grace. He is saying that God has lavished his grace on me. Now, back to godliness.
What if we made one simple decision. What if we made a choice to do one thing different this week that would be like a great springboard toward godliness? Here it is: be godly by treating people better than they deserve. I don’t know about you, but that goes against my grain. I like rewarding what deserves rewarding and penalizing what merits penalizing. I’ll bet you generally operate on the same basis. It just seems right and certainly there is a time and place for it. But, what if we tried to imitate God on this one? What if as we encounter people this week, we treated them better than they deserved? Grace is the thing that changes everything in our relationship with God. We would be lost in every way without it. Let’s allow grace to rule in our relationships. Nothing complicated, just give a little more…act a little kinder…speak a little gentler…forgive a little more willingly…serve a little extra…be patient a little longer…compliment a little quicker…love a little more lavishly. Be like God. Treat the people in your life better than they deserve.
I think one of the things that grinds us about living this way is that some people won’t realize that they are receiving grace from us. There will be no thankfulness or gratitude and we will be tempted to issue a recall on our grace. Let go of that. Let go of that and just be gracious because God is gracious with you and sometimes you treat it like garbage too. So do I. Let go of that and just be gracious because in doing so you are being like God. You are godly and that is enough.
The exciting news though is that many people will take notice of grace. It will be so other worldly to them that your generosity will take them back. They might be unsure of what to do with it. Your godly offer of grace will shine like a light in the darkness and bring attention to Jesus. Grace is uncommon and when you act in uncommon ways the world pays attention. You see, that is the power of godliness. It is different and points people to it’s source. Not only that, but it affects people in very practical ways. Think of a time when someone was generous with you. Didn’t it make you want to be more generous with someone else? Grace does that. Treat someone better than they deserve and some will ignore it, but many will imitate it. Either way, you will take a huge leap toward being godly. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
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