Following the Instructions

Have you ever suddenly noticed that God is telling you something, and no matter where you turn, you can’t avoid the message? You could open the Bible to any passage, turn on the radio, have a conversation with a friend, read a book—and they’re all on the same theme.

In the past, this happened when I was doing something contrary to God’s will. In other words, I was sinning. I could try to shut out my conscience, but God was truly the Hound of Heaven, pursuing me relentlessly until I finally gave up and repented. Every sermon, every devotional, even totally secular activities such as reading a news magazine or watching TV were a reminder that God wanted not just my obedience, but me.

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Steps to Success: Godliness

(Yet another installment in my study on 2 Peter 1:3, 5-8.)

Am I godly? Are you?

I’d always assumed that godliness meant “being like God,” so I was quite surprised to discover that isn’t the case. I don’t often take the time to dig in on a word or phrase, but in this case, I’m glad I did. Understanding the Greek was essential to understanding what Paul says.

Godliness is translated from the Greek word eusebia (εὐσέβεια). It is derived from a root word (εὐσεβής) meaning “pious” or “reverent.” It relates to doing that which pleases God, based on one’s heart attitude.

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“But I Didn’t Get YOU Anything!”

You’re standing there, awkward, embarrassed. Someone you know—a friend, an acquaintance—has surprised you with a Christmas present. And you didn’t get them anything.

Maybe they view your relationship differently, or maybe they’re just generous. It doesn’t really matter at this point. Our culture tells us we should have bought them something too.

I grew up with this mentality. If someone invited my parents to dinner, they felt pressured to invite them back. This was a huge source of stress, since my mom didn’t exactly practice hospitality, she entertained. It was a big production and everything had to be perfect. I got the sense that she was more concerned with the ham, o’gratin potatoes, and peas coming out exactly right than with our friends having an enjoyable evening.

All that didn’t matter, though. The important thing was to reciprocate.

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