The Humility of Godliness

“Does God really move mountains?” She asked me these words in Russian, looking up at me from my lap where she lay her head as I read to her from the scriptures. My mind raced. I knew that our God COULD move mountains, yet I thought I’d yet to see Him do it in my lifetime. I looked down at her face, ivory-colored framed by blonde ringlets, and whispered to her the truth that rang deep within my heart where it fed my hope. “Yes, He does move mountains,” my eyes held hers and I smiled, “But He rarely moves a mountain all at once and all in one piece. Usually, He moves it one stone at a time, one faithful follower’s hands at a time.” Even after she was in bed, those words I poured into her stayed with me, vibrating in the background.

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Our Jesus gave and gave to us, all while knowing that we would never be able to repay Him. He was a God who became a man. He had heaven and He traded it for the earth. He let go of the glory that belonged to Him alone and allowed Himself to be mocked, ridiculed, and then crucified, all so He could have us. Our Lord is a kind and loving servant, and He was defined by his humility.

As Christians, we’re called to pursue 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.” (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1: 5-8 ESV)

 

We’re called to pursue Godliness in speech, in thought, and in action. Our quiet time, our worship, our fasting, our devotionals, and the Christian books we invest in all seek to bring us closer and closer to that ultimate goal of Godliness.

However, the pursuit of Godliness can become sin.

There have been times when I find myself focused more on pursuing godliness than on pursuing God. Even though Christians would strive for both, our focus should never be more on the appearance of Godliness than on God Himself. The pursuit of Godliness can easily become prideful, even an idol.

In ministry, so many of us desire the spotlight. We want to be the one on the stage who receives all the glory and credit. We want to have our face on the backs of bestselling books and preach messages that go viral and write articles that get thousands of shares on Facebook.

The truth is that God calls all of us to lives of humble servanthood, moving mountains for Him one small stone at a time. Most of us won’t be a bestselling author, a famous international missionary, or a megachurch pastor’s wife.

The Godly woman is defined by all of the deeds that bring her no glory.

All of the things that she does in quiet, away from the eyes of those who could praise her and tell her that she’s worth far more than rubies. All of the ways in which she serves instead of takes. All of the ways she follows the leader, content with helping to move stones one at a time instead of getting credit with being the one to move the entire mountain. All of the way she’s the unsung hero that no one in her church knows about. She is content with this, because His praise is enough.