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by Jacob Ninan
A godly man (or a woman) is someone who is becoming increasingly like God in his thinking, attitudes and behaviour. There may be many who are religious, but that does not mean they are godly. Religious people pay a lot of attention to external rituals or practices such as reading the Bible, prayer, attending the church, communion, taking part in church activities, etc. Godly people also do these things, and so it is easy to assume religious people are godly. But true godliness is a matter of the heart, where we love God, we value Him more than everyone and everything else, we want to be pleasing to Him in all our ways, and we want to become like Him in our character and our behaviour. The religious man seems to honour God by his interest in the things of God, but his heart has not been transformed by God (Matt.15:8). The dangerous deception is that if we are religious people, we might be thinking God must be very pleased with us.
Let us look at some of the characteristics of a godly man and learn to aim at becoming like that.
* A godly man recognises and mourns over the fact that he is so much unlike God in many ways.
* He willingly listens to words of correction and examines them to see if they are true and applicable, because he knows he is far from being perfect and that he is blind to his own faults in many areas of his life.
* He is learning to become quicker to admit his mistakes when he becomes aware of them.
* He knows he does not know everything and also that some things he believes may be wrong, and so he willingly listens to ideas from others and examines them in the light of Godís word.
* He is willing to give up his own rights and comforts in order to bless and honour God and to do His will.
* When he sees that the othersí needs are more pressing than his, he is willing to try and meet their needs while sacrificing his own.
* He wants to help others in any way he can, and when he cannot, he passes on his concern to God.
* He is used to being misunderstood and maligned, and he learns to forgive, because he knows how easily he may misunderstand others and also how much God has forgiven him.
* His aim is to do the will of God and to glorify Him, and so he willingly puts aside his own will and desires.
* He is willing to stand on Godís side even if it causes problems for him from other people.
* He is a man of peace, but he is willing to lose peace with people in order to do the will of God.
* He reads the Bible and prays not because he has to, but because he enjoys hearing from God and learning His ways.
* He trusts the values and precepts taught in Godís word even when Ďexpertsí give different opinions.
* He uses godly ways and means to deal with problems instead of relying on human cleverness and manipulations.
* He knows he is only a created being blessed by God, and so he reverently submits to the authority of God.
* He knows that God has given him authority to use His power to accomplish His will, but also that this power belongs entirely to God.
* He enjoys the love of God as his heavenly Father but also trembles before Him as the Creator of the whole world.
* He is ever willing to learn and change.
* He is ever willing to share with others what he knows of God and His ways.
We cannot become godly just by deciding to be that, or by trying to change certain behaviour. This is because our nature itself is sinful, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. We are born in sin (Psa.51:5), and we need to be born again (Jn.3:3,5). First of all we must realise that we are sinners by nature and that we have all sinned many times in many different ways, in our thoughts, words and deeds. We need to be forgiven before we can go forward towards becoming godly. The only way we can be forgiven is through the sacrifice of Jesus when He died in our place on the cross, where He took the punishment for our sins. When we go to God in this way, humbling ourselves before Him, He gives us forgiveness and a new nature inside us, His own nature. As we walk with Him daily, obeying His word, this nature begins to grow. That is how we can become godly.
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