The Key of Quality Godliness

February 12, 2021

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. Philippians 2:6-7 NLT

What would you say is the primary quality of godliness for us? Purity? Many think that, but Jesus showed us definitively that was not so. The Pharisees and religious leaders of the day prided themselves on the purity of their law-keeping. They steered clear of anything that had the appearance of impurity and made personal “perfection” their calling card. However, they illustrated over and over a quality that is the exact opposite of godliness. It’s the idea of privilege, an elite sense of self, considering what is deserved, entitlement. 

When Paul told us the attitude that labels us as truly Christlike, truly godly, he said it is the humility to willingly give up and lay aside the privileges that are justifiably ours in order to serve humbly. Jesus didn’t consider His rights as God Himself as a reason to short-cut serving us. He became a humble human being to serve us, with a true servant’s heart.

If you look at our political fights, our church divisions, and our family disruptions, you can trace them 100% back to this. Each party in the division is unwilling to become humble and give up rights, often rights that actually are legitimate. It’s staggering to realize what Jesus willingly relinquished for us when we will not give up our rights for the good of others. I remember back in the days when the church “worship wars” began in earnest over styles of music, a leader I deeply respected spoke to a crowd of people who had been hotly and critically debating “seeker-sensitive music” versus the older hymns. He said reflectively and somewhat sadly, “I wonder what spectacular music Jesus left in heaven to come reach us?” 

Jesus-followers deeply consider the humble service of Jesus, the extent to which He went to serve them, the relinquishment of His rights. Then they regularly and consistently make the choice to model godliness by imitating Him. They willingly forgo their rights in order to serve others, for Jesus’ sake.

  • How deeply engrained in my heart and decisions are my rights and privileges? Do I reflect Jesus? Do I model godliness? Do I go out of my way to relinquish my desires and demands in order to serve? Is my picture of Jesus to the world through my life accurate or warped and blurry?