Godly Living in a Godless Age, Part 1
by Pastor Gene
Our Greatest Challenge
It’s clearly the greatest challenge any believer faces in following Jesus today: How can I remain godly in a godless age? This week I’m doing something a bit differently in the blogs. I’m going to share with you an abbreviated list of Bible verses that I’ve compiled over time to keep myself in check.
I’ve arranged them into different categories and tried to encapsulate their meaning in a single phrase or sentence. So, the thoughts about each of these verses are mine, but perhaps the Lord will give you a different insight as you prayerfully contemplate each one.
Again, I use these in my own times of spiritual reflection, and I can honestly say that it’s pleased the Lord to use them over and over again to keep my heart right. I hope they’ll challenge you as well.
The Psalmist, in what was certainly the darkest hour of his life, asked the question, ‘How can I stay godly amidst such ungodliness?’ The questioned was asked and answered – and he even wrote it down so that we might bathe in its glorious light! Psalm 119:9-11:
“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.”
I truly believe that. Do you?
So, how can I preserve my purity? How can I walk before God in such a difficult time? Only by hiding His Word in my heart.
It’s the Word that delivers us, and the Word that keeps us.
You won’t find questions for consideration at the end of these blogs as you normally do. That’s because each of these verses carry with them their own inherent questions:
‘Am I living up to this?’
‘What needs to change?’
‘Is this something I need to talk with Jesus about?’
So, soak in these verses. Let them convict you. Let them convince you. Let them encourage you. Let them change you.
Don’t feel like you have to rush through them. Spread them over several days weeks or months, as I do.
Let them challenge you to stay on mission and to give you perspective.
Hide them in your heart and let them do their purifying work. “You are clean,” Jesus said, “because of the word I’ve spoken to you” (John 15:3). O, the cleansing power of God’s Words!
Obviously, each of these verses are worthy of careful meditation in their own right. They offer spiritual enlightenment and guidance for life. But, most importantly of all, they show us how to live life in a way that pleases the Lord.
God’s Word is Enough
God’s Word is alive – a LIVING Word – and it scrutinizes my heart.
Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
God’s Word is profitable for EVERYTHING.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
God’s Word can renew my thinking TODAY!
Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind …”
God’s Word will guide me through the darkness.
Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Warnings to Those in Exile
Remember: This world is not my home. I’m in exile here.
1 Peter 2:11: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
I need to present my body daily for the Lord’s use – my feet, my tongue, my hands, my ears, etc.
Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
These are treacherous times. Precede with caution!
2 Timothy 3:1-9: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
‘Lord, help me to walk worthy of my calling today.’
Ephesians 4:1-6: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I need to steer clear of evil, all of it, TODAY!
1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from every form of evil.”
The Deceitfulness of Riches
What Jesus has given me is enough.
Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Faithfulness must be my occupation.
Proverbs 28:20: “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
I must serve the Giver and never the gift.
Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
I need to be more like Jesus today! Period.
1 Corinthians 11:1: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
God will pour into me all the power I need to accomplish His will.
Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
I need to keep VERY short accounts with God.
1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The nearer I am to God, the further I am from sin.
Galatians 5:16: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
I can decide what my mind will dwell upon; I can be selective in my thought-life.
Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
A Transformed Life
I want to ‘wear’ these things TODAY!
Colossians 3:12-14: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
I want God to kill these things in me TODAY!
Colossians 3:5-10: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry … In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
I need to shuck off anything that will slow me down in the ‘race’ of righteousness TODAY!
Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
I want to grab hold of eternal life RIGHT NOW! TODAY!
1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
I want this! I want this! I want this! I want to experience this joyful manifestation of the Spirit’s presence TODAY!
John 7:38: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
My Big Mouth
I must always speak as though the Lord were in the room listening (because He is).
1 Timothy 4:7: “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.”
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER downspeak God’s people.
James 4:11: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.”
‘Lord, help me to be kinder and discreet in all that I say.’
Proverbs 11:12-13: “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.”
Always tell the truth, no matter what the consequence.
1 Peter 3:10: “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”
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