In 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Paul stated, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord…” Paul set the example in the presence of the Thessalonian church not only in word but in action. In chapter two he continues to coach them in pursuing godliness and not simply being “good” people. There are parallels between being good and godly living, but the results are worlds apart.
- Being a good person focuses on the outward appearance.
- Godly living focuses on spiritual development.
- Good living polishes the outside. (It’s like washing your car but never changing the oil, replacing the spark plugs or getting a tune-up)
- Godly living transforms the inside.
- Good living is temporary.
- Godly living is eternal.
Heaven isn’t filled with good people but with godly people.
When it comes to spiritual development, self-esteem is the enemy of godliness. Self-esteem is about overvaluing myself to compensate for the gap I feel between who I am and how I see others. The idea is to build “me” up enough to feel better about self without any real change.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Living a godly life requires sacrifice and denying ourselves. God wants to transform you by renewing your mind not just make you feel good and leave you as is.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6
With God, the way up is down. Humility is not thinking less about myself but thinking about others first. We can’t put others first if we are busy inflating our ego to feel better about ourselves.
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,” Psalm 17:8
“…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:3
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“The Lord is my shepherd;” Psalm 23:1
“4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” Ephesians 2:4-5
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” 1 John 3:1
This is how God thinks of you and what He has done to have a relationship with you. “The God who created all matter, says you matter!” Brad Stine. There is no more value to be added to your life than that.
Our value comes from God alone; not your spouse, your job, your children, your successes or your failures, not your social status, or economic status.
If you need the approval of others to feel good about your self, you will become the victim of flattery. Flattery is false praise. It’s the exaggerated compliments from another with the intent of gaining favor from you. When someone starts spouting off over the top compliments about you, they may be attempting to manipulate you to get something from you.
“A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his steps.” Proverbs 29:5
“A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Proverbs 26:28
“There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue.” Psalm 5:9
Flattery neglects the areas in our life that require attention and transformation. If we don’t face the truth of what we are, we will never become what we could be in God. This starts by owning our weaknesses.
In our pursuit of godliness, there are a few characteristics that when applied to your life, make you most like God.
You’re Most Like God When You;
Give “For God so loved the world that He gave…” John 3:16
Love “God is love.” 1 John 4:8
Serve “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” Matthew 20:28
Are you working at being a good person and searching for people who will “sing your praises?” Or are you in pursuit of being a godly man or woman, confronting your weaknesses and allowing God to fill in the gaps? Being a good person and godly person may seem identical, but they produce two very different and distinct results.