This morning I want to share with you a few paragraphs from a book I am reading. This week I will write my comments after the excerpt–
Nothing erodes progress toward godliness more than today’s entertainment mindset and the modern church’s casual Christianity. Devotion to Christ, which characterizes the godly man, is cultivated not with a game console in hand by the hour but by gradually increased time spent with a Bible in hand. It does not grow by hours a week spent before a television, computer, or theater screen but by more and more understanding of the person, work, and ways of Jesus Christ through increased time spent in His Word. This is foundational. Godliness is not accidental; it is intentional. “The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself,” (Psalm 4:3) and the godly man thrives on this personal time with God. The Christian who would be godly cannot fill his time with entertainments and recreations. They have their place but should be sampled more like salt sprinkled sparingly on a meal rather than a plate of salt consumed as the main course.
Furthermore, this devotion to Christ is not fueled by high-energy Christian pop concerts, sentimental Kumbaya campfire experiences, or emotional charismatic services. Energy, enthusiasm, and emotional experiences are no substitute for the daily, personal pursuit of Christ in the Word.
The believer must personally and regularly observe Christ in his Bible, meditate upon what he sees, and respond in contrition, commitment, and praise to his Lord and Savior. There is much going on between the godly man and his God, and his personal quiet time with God is measured, not by minutes a week but eventually by hours a week.
Thus, the godly man’s life is notably Christ-centered rather than self-centered. It is his chief distinction. It is this way because he has purposefully cultivated the pursuit of the excellence of Christ-likeness and sought the knowledge of Christ in His Word. Godliness has the imprint of this kind of personal devotion to Jesus Christ as its hallmark. Many men today are Christian, but alarmingly few are godly.
Wow. That is convicting, isn’t it? This is from the book Essential Virtues: Marks of the Christ-Centered Life by Jim Berg. He does go on to say a few paragraphs later that we should not panic if we are not spending hours each week in God’s Word, as this is an eventual outcome of a holy, righteous life. But this excerpt certainly did make me think about the hours of time I spend on entertainment and pleasing myself. I love these two sentences: The Christian who would be godly cannot fill his time with entertainments and recreations. They have their place but should be sampled more like salt sprinkled sparingly on a meal rather than a plate of salt consumed as the main course.
As I read this, I did find myself wondering something. Are “many men” actually Christians? Is it possible to be Christian and not be striving towards godliness? The answer to this question scares me a bit. It would seem that the very essence of transformation would be a change in priorities and desires. Of course, we are all at different places, but is it possible to focus ONLY on me with no movement towards godliness and still be saved? Any thoughts?