Friday Thoughts: Awaken Us, O Lord
Ungodliness may be defined as living one's everyday life with little or no thought of God, or of God's will, or of God's glory, or one's dependence on God" (Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins).
Consider our world for a moment and is this not what you see? Billions of people; each one created by God living out their lives with little to no thoughts of him...some even denying his existence. The vast majority are just average "Joes;" people who work hard, have good families, give of themselves and their possessions for the good of others, and are great neighbors. But they're ungodly and without hope.
But I'm also talking about you. And I'm talking about me.
Ungodliness...does that define how you live? None of us would readily say that would we? But we must ask ourselves this question. Do we live the moments of our days with little to no thought of God? In the moments and details of our lives are we any different than our unbelieving neighbors and co-workers? Are we mindful of living in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:9-10) throughout the nitty gritty and tedium of our days (Col. 3:22-24)? Do we make plans without a thought of what the Lord would want (James 4:13-15)? I could keep asking questions to help us all process but I imagine all of us can feel our tendency towards ungodliness in our lives. It's worth thinking about. And it's worth mortifying (Rom. 8:13)!
So, how do we do that?
First, we must evaluate. Each of us are ungodly to some extent. None of us are perfect; neither are we as ungodly as we possibly could be. But how ungodly are we? How much of your life do you live without any regard for God? Identify specific areas of life where you tend to live without regard to God.
Second, we must agree with God's definition of what it is. It's sin (Rom. 1:18; Titus 2:12). For the one who has become a child of God (John 1:12-13), delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Jesus (Col. 1:13), and redeemed by and reconciled to God (Col. 1:14, 20-23) God has become and should remain the center and focal point of his or her life (Rom. 14:8). He is why we exist (Acts 17:28; Col. 1:16). And when we live in any other way (purposefully or not) it is sin.
Third, repent. And don't grow weary of it. If your heart is soft towards God and you feel the weight and seriousness of your ungodliness, praise God! This is so good and is the Holy Spirit keeping you from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:7-19).
Fourth, believe the gospel. The only person who ever lived a totally godly life was Jesus. Trust him as your substitute. He lived a 100% godly life in your place. Oh what grace!! Your standing with God is not based on your ability to arrive and become a godly man or woman but is entirely based on the gift of God in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9).
Fifth, train yourself for godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). This is what the above steps are: Evaluate your life, confess (agree with God on what the issue actually is), repent, and believe the gospel AND then grow in purposeful pursuit of God throughout the busyness of your day. Meditate and memorize scripture, use post-it notes, utilize reminders on your iPhone/Android, and maybe have others call/text you (and you call/text others) to remind and exhort (Heb. 3:13). Consider 1 Tim. 4:7-8; 1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 1:9-10; Col. 3:23; Psalm 42:1-2; Psalm 63:1.
Joy pointed me to a prayer in "The Valley of Vision" that is especially helpful in regards to the recognition of our tendency towards ungodliness and our Spirit-given desire for godliness. The prayer below really espouses the thoughts above. Take a moment to read it; take more time to let it inform your own prayer to God. And remember; always, always remember that should you recognize your need for a Savior from your tendency towards ungodliness...this is the grace of God at work in you. Left to ourselves we wouldn't see, nor care. But God hasn't left us to ourselves. Praise God that though we are so often faithless he is ALWAYS faithful.
May we be a people who are marked by godliness; as those who live the moments of our lives with ever-increasing thoughts of God, his will, his glory, and our dependence on him for all things.
O MY FORGETFUL SOUL,
Awake from thy wandering dream;
turn from chasing vanities,
look inward, forward, upward,
reflect upon thyself,
who and what thou art, why here,
what thou must soon be.
Thou art a creature of God,
formed and furnished by him,
lodged in a body like a shepherd in his tent;
Dost thou not desire to know God’s ways?
Thou injured, neglected, provoked Benefactor
when I think upon thy greatness and thy goodness
I am ashamed at my insensibility,
I blush to lift up my face,
for I have foolishly erred.
Shall I go on neglecting thee,
when every one of thy rational creatures
should love thee,
and take every care to please thee?
I confess that thou hast not been in all my thoughts,
that the knowledge of thyself as the end of
my being has been strangely overlooked,
that I have never seriously considered
But although my mind is perplexed and divided,
my nature perverse,
yet my secret dispositions still desire thee.
Let me not delay to come to thee;
Break the fatal enchantment that binds
my evil affections,
and bring me to a happy mind that rests in thee,
for thou hast made me and canst not forget me.
Let thy Spirit teach me the vital lessons of Christ,
for I am slow to learn;
And hear thou my broken cries.
From The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, Edited by Arthur Bennett, Published by The Banner of Truth