Godliness - Practical Helps and Persevering in Godliness
Having looked at various characteristics of the godly and having been exhorted to godliness, it is now time to turn to practical helps in godliness and the idea of perseverance. All this, again, is drawn from Thomas Watson in “The Godly Man’s Picture”.
In moving toward godliness there are some very real practical helps to be employed. The first is that we need to be diligent in the use of all means that promote godliness. We do not grow in our faith or in godliness without the means that God has provided. We need to be much in prayer, reading the Word, worship and fellowship with the saints. To ignore these things is to refuse the food by which we grow. These things are often accomplished in community. It is good to be among the saints to learn the trade of godliness.
We also need to take heed of the world and watch our hearts. These two ideas are related. Our hearts are naturally drawn to worldliness. Many would like to be godly, but the honours and profits of the world divert them. Our hearts are not often obvious in their pursuit of sin and the world. Little by little we entertain the world and “little” sins but before long we are wholly drawn away from the Lord. A subtle heart needs a watchful eye. When you have prayed against sin, watch against temptation. We need to be watchful. We need to be those who expect to be harassed by sin and tempted by the world. Watchfulness maintains godliness.
Finally, we need to make spending our time a matter of conscience. Time is a commodity that has to be redeemed (Eph. 5:16). The days are evil and thus time can be wasted or used to no profit. Thus time misspent is not time lived but time lost….Salvation is to be worked out in it, and a conveyance of heaven depends on using it well, it is of infinite concern. Our time here on earth is short, but what we do here has great import for eternity. God made the world only as a dressing room to dress our souls in. As one who is dressing for something greater, we need to occupy our minds with meditations on the glories of heavenly things or we may think we live to look at ourselves in the dressing room mirror.
This is hard work. It is not easy. It goes against the tide of this world and it takes work and effort to swim against the current. It is, however, worth it. It is the glory and crown of a Christian to be grey-headed in godliness. We swim not for ourselves only but for others as we encourage godliness in them. We shall lose nothing by our perseverance in godliness, but he who overcomes shall gain everything in glory.