Wow. I just read the first chapter that dealt with a specific sin in Jerry Bridges “Respectable Sins: Dealing with the Sins We Tolerate.” He proposes, quite well, that our root sin is ungodliness. He uses the illustration of a tree where the trunk is pride with the roots being ungodliness. He defines ungodliness as living one’s everyday life with little or no thought of God, God’s will, God’s glory or dependence on God. Gulp… He speaks of four specific ways where we live ungodly lives.
- Making plans without recognizing our UTTER dependence on God to carry them out (James 4:13-15)
- Praying prayers about what we need or want (quick fixes to make ourselves feel better)–treating him like our bell-hop while not praying that our lives be God-centered (Colossians 1:9-10)
- Living life in every activity with no thought of glory to him before him alone and before others (1 Corinthians 10:13, Matthew 5:16)
- Lacking desire for the development of an intimate relationship with God (Psalm 42:1-2)
I guess we all catch the drift that we are all ungodly. I was ashamed after reading the chapter, and then, in his great grace, he reminds me again of the gospel. He has made a way for me to walk in obedience and godliness with him. Jesus lived in perfect godliness, but we fall somewhere on the spectrum. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says
“Have nothing to do with irreverent silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
I am reminded of how I seek to be on the easy road of how I appear to others. Training myself for godliness takes time and energy everyday. It takes courage to listen to the Spirit and dig through the cobwebs at the recesses of my heart. Training takes surrender. I think upon hours and hours of prayer and study to connect with my heavenly Father, and I think about the conscious decision each time to do that. I do not think it ever gets easier. I always have something that calls to me…house projects, the newspaper, the computer, people, the telephone, chores, shopping. Oh that everyday I consciously pray through the day that I be mindful of him in all things…living as if he is the only relevant thing. If I do not foster that daily fellowship with him, I cannot genuinely desire to please him or glorify him during our days. Bridges asks these questions which we need to ask ourselves:
- How ungodly am I?
- How much of my life to I live without any regard for God?
- How much of my daily activities to I go through without any reference to God?
- How far do I go in a positive direction to seek to glorify God before others?
- Do my prayers reflect a concern for God’s will and God’s glory and a desire that my life be pleasing to God?
- What specific areas do I tend to live without regard for God?