INTRODUCTION TO GODLINESS:
PICKING UP THE PACE
“And knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness...”
// 2 Peter 1:6
Can you feel, over the course of these devotionals, how the pace has picked up? We started off at the baseline of faith, adding virtue to it, and then to virtue knowledge, and then to knowledge self-mastery, gaining momentum with every addition. By the time we came to adding perseverance to our self-mastery, we began to see a self-perpetuating momentum building. Often in our growth in Christ, it becomes a struggle to maintain consistency, yes? We have our good days and our not-so-good ones. And yet, once we have learned to add endurance to our character, something changes – we lock in, we stay connected to the Lord; we find our groove and don’t slip from it; we are now ‘in it to win it’!
Once we step up into a place of consistency, which endurance opens up for us, a self-perpetuating momentum takes hold of our growth in God. We are not moving forward by fits and starts anymore; we are not pressing in hard, pushing through limits with all that is in us; no, now we are picking up speed and energy, now we are moving because of the momentum of our growth. And what better place to step into, once we’ve achieved an ongoing rhythm, than godliness?
What is godliness, anyways? In short, it’s becoming increasingly like God, taking on His nature and ways, not through concerted effort but with ease and abandon. We just, by default, begin to think like Him; we discover that, by design, it’s natural for us to think and act and be like our Father God. And that was His design from the beginning, when He first made us in His image and formed us after His likeness [see Genesis 1:26]. When we move from endurance into godliness, we have stepped into a new reality, which Paul describes in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Godliness is when Christ becomes naturally visible in us, and when it becomes natural to us to think, act, and live like Christ. The internal war ends, and we move more and more naturally into a Christlikeness in every area of our lives.
And yes, it is possible. In fact, it’s not just possible, but expected. Anticipated. Planned for. Encouraged. We were always meant to be like Christ, from the very beginning.
Whether we feel like such a thing is unachievable or a ‘wish’ in our present circumstances, we have to know that if we keep pressing in through endurance, we will cross a threshold and we will start to move according to the momentum we’ve built. That is why it is so important that we maintain our endurance so that we do not slow or cut short our moment. We must become a people who do not stop when enduring hardship; we must become a people who press in through worship, knowing self-perpetuating Christlikeness is just before us. The threshold is Galatians 2:20, but once we cross into the reality that “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” we will find that “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”
Above all else, maintain your endurance, for it bolsters your faith, so that we inherit the promise of God to us that has stood since time immemorial – we are meant to be Christlike. And the highest form of praise, as the notion goes, is to mimic the One you praise.
// Samuel Nicolosi