During the most recent women’s study through Jerry Bridges’ book Respectable Sins, the Holy Spirit convicted me of ungodliness in my life.
It might sound strange for a Christian to claim ungodliness, but Jerry defines it 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.” In such a definition, we are all guilty of some degree of ungodliness. It’s not that I never think about God, but my primary motivation is too often not his will or his glory, but my own. On top of that, I often tend to depend on myself rather than recognizing my dependence on him.
I could see why Jerry would say that ungodliness is likely the root of the other respectable sins he covered throughout his book, such as anxiety, discontentment, impatience, or anger.
In examining my daily life, I saw how easily I could start and carry on with much of my day without acknowledging God. I saw my lack of dependence on his power, as the worries of the day flooded my mind and anxiety easily overtook me. I saw my desire for my will to be done as I responded to my children with impatience or out of anger. There were countless areas where I saw the effects of ungodliness.
Through this gracious conviction of my sin, God began to work. Jerry offered that a solution for ungodliness is a deepening intimacy with God that results in God-centeredness. Since then, I have been taking steps to know and apply Scripture to each situation I face.
Through the Spirit’s power, I’ve been able to see fruit in many areas. When I feel anxieties creeping in, I readily cast them on the Lord, knowing that he cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). When I feel impatient towards my kids, I ask the Spirit to give me self-control so I can respond in a way that glorifies God. When I wake up in the morning, I acknowledge God as Lord and offer myself as a living sacrifice for his purposes (Romans 12:1).
I have learned that godliness is not something we just hope for, but something we train for. Paul exhorted Timothy to “train yourself for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7), and that is what we must do with “commitment, consistency, and discipline.”
And so I pray for myself and for each of you from Colossians 1:9-10, “asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”