Honest to God

1 Jan

I am ungodly. And I am the worst kind of ungodly, because you would never know it.

In his book, Respectable Sins (which I highly recommend), Jerry bridges defines ungodliness as, “living one’s everyday life with little or no thought of God, or of God’s will, or of God’s glory, or of one’s dependence on God.” (p. 54) Perhaps that is a surprising distinction for some of us. We tend to view ungodliness as equivalent to wickedness, or just sin in general. It’s yet another of those Bible words that is a bit vague, the meaning of which we never take the time to explore. Kind of like all the different words for ‘sin’ in the Bible. You know, words like ‘transgression’, ‘iniquity’, and ‘wickedness.’ If we are honest, we have all heard sermons that focus on how the hebrew word used in a particular verse is very specific and means “<insert exact definition here>”. But when we come across the various words for sin in our Bible reading, we read them as ‘sin’. Or, maybe more accurately, ‘bad’.

Our flesh loves to take advantage of these ambiguities. Why? Somehow, mustering up all the spiritual ingenuity we can, we convince ourselves that these words don’t apply to us. Sure, we are willing to admit (or for the sake of making ourselves sound more holy, ‘confess’) that we are sinners, but we are often unwilling to look in the mirror, point our finger at ourselves, and call ourselves “<insert vague Bible word here>”. Ungodliness is a good example.

For a Christian, reading the word ‘ungodliness’ seems like it is antithetical to who we are. And it is, or at least, should be. No person who believes in Jesus wants to recognize their personal contribution to the ‘un-‘ in that word. After all Jesus did for us, could we still be ungodly? Wouldn’t we be ungrateful? Wouldn’t that make God  angry with us, or at the least, disappointed? Bridges has done Christians a huge services by defining for us the word, ‘ungodliness’, and opening our eyes to its prevalence in our daily lives.

We are all, to some degree or another, ungodly. We go about our days without giving a thought to God’s glory, will, or our dependence on Him for everything. And here is where I am probably most guilty. If you spent time with me, you would never know the depths of my ungodliness. I can talk about Christian topics, or Bible verses, while completely disconnected from my Savior. You wouldn’t be able to tell. I have had a rough go of it in the past year, and I am coming to realize that I’ve become a bit numb in every aspect of my life. My current condition could well be described as ungodly. Though I get up early to read and have a devotional time, I go about my day at work with little or no thought of God. I am the worst kind of ungodly. But what is the answer?

My method has been to be honest with God. I can’t fabricate a false intimacy. I won’t fake it, but I long for it. So, I tell Him exactly that. I ask the Lord to help me glean something from His word everyday that would stay in my mind. Something to chew on throughout the day. And you would think that it would be easy since I have the most boring job in the world and spend hours and hours alone every day locked up in a room. But I’m a daydreamer, and my mind wanders easily. My cat’s breath smells like cat food. Sorry. Back to the point. Anyway, we have to be honest with God, and little by little, He will help us to be more God-centered. At least, that is my hope. His faithfulness to His promises is my only hope. I can’t imagine that the God who says–“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)–would ever want to keep me at arm’s length.

So, even though I am ungodly, I’m confident that it is in the best interest of God’s glory and my happiness that I fight against my ungodliness and seek to think of Him fondly and often throughout my day. But for now, I’m honestly asking Him to help me in my quest for godliness. Not just an external, behavioral, godliness, but an internal, relational godliness.

A biblical godliness.

My name is Mike Gorski, I’m 31 years old, I’m in charge of teaching people how to grow in godliness, and I’m ungodly. I invite you to walk with me in asking God to help us in our fight against ungodliness.

 

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