Two passages in the New Testament define my passion: Romans 12:1, 2; and Phil. 3:10 - 17. Both describe the pursuit of godliness that should characterize every Christian life. My wife Pam has often kidded with me that all my preaching centers around the concepts found in these verses. She may well be very close to the truth with that! I believe that all preaching should persuade men and women to pursue godliness.
I have discovered something recently, though, that bears a mention. It's not new, this thing I have discovered. It is as old as history itself. The concept I have discovered is the sinister imitation of godliness. Paul described it by saying there are people who have a form of godliness, but deny its power.
Let me try to explain what I see in this. A person with a form of godlines, but who denies its power, is a person who may consider himself as spiritual. But his or her spirituality does not reflect the results of godliness, thereby denying the very power that characterizes godliness. To be godly is to reflect the attributes of God. To be religious or spiritual is a form of godliness that denies the power of godliness. There are also those who deny the power of godliness by perverting that power into a self-serving thing. The inherit power of godliness is to make you more godly in your lifestyle, not to make you more appealing to the world. Remember, the crowds left Jesus when he told them what it really meant to follow him.
I counseled with one recently that spoke of how much he loved the Lord. He told me how he carried his Bible around, how he read it, how it blessed him. Then he told me of his regular activities. Those activities, including his sexual activities, all denied the very godliness he claimed to have. He had a form of godliness, but denied its power with his life.
The true pursuit of godliness transforms us from glory to glory. We are transformed from the great glory of the new birth, to the greater glory of a full-aged son of God. The pursuit of godliness reveals more of the fruit of the Spirit. The pursuit of godliness creates a greater intimacy, a deeper relationship, with our Lord Jesus.
Beware the type of godliness that denies the power of God.