We all want to do that which is “profitable,” right? But in the day in which we live there are many things that compete for our attention. There is much to chase after. The things that capture our eyes, our thoughts, and sometimes even our hearts, include:
- Many forms of media, including TV, movies, video games, social media, and all types of electronic and print media.
- Various athletic activities, including attending sporting events or watching them on TV, engaging in a sport, working out, etc.
- Choices of leisure-time activities such as reading, shopping, meals with friends, gathering for coffee/conversation, and more.
The list goes on and on. The question is, do we pause to consider whether the things we are pursuing are profitable? God’s Word tells us that “godliness” is worthy of our pursuit because it is “profitable for all things.”
So How Do We Define Godliness?
“Godliness” is a reverence, a piety, a holiness, and a Christ-likeness. The word is a noun that describes a quality of living in a way that conforms to the will and ways of God. And Paul, in his letter to Timothy, wrote that “godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Tim 4:8). Godliness (i.e. godly living) is profitable because it keeps us on the right path, it focuses our eyes on Jesus, and it directs us to our holy calling and our heavenly hope while we await the time when we enter into the presence of God.
Godliness is evidenced in our lives by God-honoring practices, thinking, and pursuits. In the book “Right Thinking In A World Gone Wrong,” Kurt Gebhards writes on the subject of making wise choices in a media-saturated age. He writes to warn Christians but he also gives a great number of biblical principles that, if pursued, bring about godliness verses worldliness. Gebhards starts with a few guidelines that we should seriously note, especially in the day in which we live in
- “Carefully avoid temptations that feed your areas of weakness”
- “Make the most of the time God has given you”
- “Worship God above all else, even in your media choices”
God’s Word Instructs Best About the Pursuit of Godliness
How do we discipline ourselves for the purpose and pursuit of godliness? Paul instructs that to grow in godliness, we should:
- Remember that Jesus is the head of the church, and He is preeminent in all things (Col 1:18)
- Flee sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18).
- Fear worldly gain (Mat 16:26).
- Avoid evil company (1 Cor 15:33).
- Beware of philosophy, empty deceit, traditions of men, basic principles of the world (Col 2:8)
- Understand that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial ( 1 Cor 6:12).
- Walk in wisdom; redeem the time; understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph 5:15-17)
Being in God’s Word, reading it, and studying it, is necessary for profitable godliness. The Bible has all the instructions that we need to lead us in the paths of righteous behavior and growing in biblical knowledge will produce in us good “fruit” that is in service to God.
Sadly, Paul also noted in his letter to Timothy (1 Tim 4:1) that during the latter days (without a doubt, the time in which we are living) not all Christians will pursue the godliness that is necessary for holy living. In fact, Paul wrote that they will pursue that which is evil:
1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
Shouldn’t every Christian know that heeding deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons are harmful? They should, but when one departs from the faith, as Paul wrote some will, deception takes over. Things that are unprofitable for now, and for the time to come, don’t look harmful. They are often very appealing and enticing. Therefore, Christians must be strong in their faith, discerning in all things, and disciplined to seek profitable godliness.
Time is a precious commodity. Don’t waste it. Your time on earth is a gift from God. Make it profitable. So, how is that done? By adding to your faith those things which are profitable.
2 Pet 1:5-8 …add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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