Summary: As believers, our first priority is to become like Christ. This mean to enter a "training program" which focuses on the right outcome. This message offers misconceptions and marks of godliness.
Training in Godliness
* For people who have met Christ, one of the priorities is to become ‘like’ Him. When person begins to live like Christ we have a couple of terms for it which are ‘Christlikeness’ or ‘godliness’. In scripture the term Christian is only use a couple of time and, even though I’m not a linguist, I can never find the term Christlikeness in Holy Scripture, so we must conclude that we are called to godliness which will lead us to Christlikeness. So let’s see what scripture says about this. (READ TEXT)
* It would seem obvious from the text that godliness is not an automatic after you are saved because we are told to ‘train’ for righteousness. Training is a big deal. The method of training used is driven by the desired outcome, that is, what you are training for. For instance, in running there is a vast difference in training for a sprint than for a marathon. To train for football is entirely different than training for basketball or baseball. To train for teaching is different than training for business. Paul tells Timothy (and us) to ‘train’ or ‘prepare’ or ‘exercise.’
* In the original language the word train means to ‘exercise in a simple loin cloth or naked.’ A word study reveals this picture in this way; a runner will have no excessive hindrance to doing his best. No jewelry, clothes, or no foreign objects of any kind that hinders the person from training to do their best. This past week at lunch with a couple of our men I asked the question, “What do you think is godliness?” After hearing their answers, I mentioned this scripture and about training in godliness and raised their eyebrows when I mentioned training really means training naked. One quickly responded that, in spiritual terms, to be able to focus on becoming like God without any of the issues of the world crowding in. We will never ‘train’ to be ‘godly’ IF the ‘things of this world’ are pressing in our minds. Train in godliness.
* If we are to train in godliness, what is it exactly that we are training for? If we become godly, what does that look like? What are the attributes? In order to see & understand this completely we have to been this from a couple of ways;
1. Misconceptions about Godliness
a. Passive – Being gentle, which is a fruit of godliness as is listed several places in scripture, is not the same as ‘passivity.’ Thing about the person in your life, male or female, that you consider being the ‘most godly.’ What is that one quality which we all have been taught and seem to equate to godliness? Is it not passiveness?
* Yet, if we believe that ‘godliness’ is becoming like God, then passivity does not pass the test. Passivity sits idly by and allows sin to develop.
* Consider the most famous human illustration of this which is found in Genesis 3. God had (and still has) given man the leadership role in life and on earth (another message for another time). Please remember that the woman (who later is named Eve) did not hear God’s command about not eating the fruit, only Adam heard that word. He was given the responsibility for bringing his wife up to speed and helping her to obey God’s word. Here’s the problem; when Satan approach Eve in the Garden, Adam was standing there and said NOTHING. (Read Genesis 3:1-7) He was not in another part of paradise; He was standing and listening without defending. At the very moment he needed to be strong, he went passive leaving himself, his wife, children, and the world reeling from his ungodly response. Every time that a man is called on to defend, respond, and even react and he goes passive, bad things happen. Most times the “Law of Unintended Consequences” goes into action. God is not passive, so this can’t be a sign of being like God (called godliness)
b. Tolerant – Without a doubt this is today’s battle cry against those who claim to know Christ, “You’re intolerant.” According to our culture there should be toleration granted toward everyone except those who wear the name ‘Christian.’ Interestingly, this culture tells us that we must be tolerant of homosexuals but tells the homosexuals that no one should be tolerant of us. (this can be applied across the board to many different lifestyles, religions, and beliefs) However, while God loves all people, both the sinners and the saints, HE has never been tolerant of aberrant behavior. HE has never ‘looked the other way’ about anything. A study of any kind will reveal that God is INTOLERANT of sin, disobedience, and other aberrant behavior and attitude.