The pursuit of godliness (sanctification) is the life-long process of daily conforming our thoughts, words, and actions to Christ. Every day, we must ask, “Who is God? What is He like? What is He doing?” And then follow these up with, “How can I know Him better? How can I model His character? and How can I participate in His story?”
In last week’s post (read it here), I shared the requirements I’ve given to my son (and any potential son-in-law) that must be met prior to getting married- 1.) he must be a godly man, and 2.) he must ask her father.
Then, to clarify what it means to be “godly”, I listed 4 actions that every godly man does. Everything on the list is either a means of conforming us to God or for imitating Him. Here is the list again:
1.) A godly man Worships.
2.) A godly man Works.
3.) A godly man Wars.
4.) A godly man Wins.
Each week, we will be unpacking 1 of these principles in order to see how it connects to the pursuit of godliness. Today, we’re looking at worship.
What is Worship?
Worship is the act of ascribing ultimate worth or value to something.
When we give a portion of our week on Sunday morning, acknowledging that all time belongs to God, that is worship.
When we give a portion of our finances to the church, acknowledging that everything we have belongs to God, that is worship.
When we sit under the teaching/preaching of His Word, acknowledging that there is nothing more valuable than to know who God is, that is worship.
When we are moved to praise, acknowledging great truths about who God is through song, that is worship.
When we prayerfully study His Word, acknowledging our total dependence on Him every day for every thing, that is worship.
Every time we think, say, or do something that shows God to be most valuable, that is worship.
Worship and Godliness
The fruit of worship is godliness. When we worship, we aren’t imitating a particular character trait or action of God. Instead, we are communing with Him. As we abide in the Lord through prayer and reading His Word, the Holy Spirit renews our minds and transforms us, little by little, into the image of Christ. (John 15:1-11) One of the great mysteries of sanctification is that, rather than something we do, it is primarily a byproduct of knowing God. We Become What We Worship. (Beale, G.K.)
Paul describes the process this way:
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Warning Against Idolatry
It is important to note that we were created to worship. Everyone worships something. So, if we aren’t placing ultimate value in God, then we are worshipping something else (sports, money, self, etc.), and this is called idolatry.
Whether the object is God or an idol, the transformative nature of worship holds true. Beale asserts that “we resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration”. In other words, if we worship God, we will be made like Him, but, if we worship something else, we will become like it instead.
One place we find this in the Scriptures is Psalm 115:4-8.
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes but they cannot see; they have ears but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they cannot make a sound with their throat. Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them.“
Those who have chosen idolatry rather than to worship the true God have become like their idols. These lifeless statues cannot see or hear or understand. In the same way, those who trust in them are unable to see or hear or understand spiritual things. They have become deaf and blind to the truth.
How do I examine personal godliness in light of worship?
First, worship is a matter of priorities. What has ultimate worth in my life? What I value most is where I will spend my time and my resources.
Second, worship is a matter of position. Are my thoughts, words, and actions subject to the LORD and His Word? He is God, and I am not.
Third, worship is a matter of prayerfully reading the Scriptures. Do I read my Bible? Do I pray? “You cannot worship whom you do not know.”
The most important quality in a spouse is their pursuit of godliness. Sometimes people make lists of what they are looking for in a husband/wife. These can be superficial (hair/eye color, music/food preferences, etc.), or they can be biblical (humble, kind, faithful…). At the top of everyone’s list, though, should be the pursuit of godliness. Nothing is more important than whether or not a person’s main goal in life is to be like Christ.
While making a list of qualities you hope to find in a future spouse may have some benefit, I think my college professor’s exhortation has more. “Stop looking for the right person and start being the right person.” This is as true for my 5 year old son as it is for me.