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The Unattainable Umbrella

November 26th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 10: 6 (NLT)

6 The godly are showered with blessings;
      the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Throughout the course of our journey through the book of Proverbs, we will repeatedly encounter the concept of today’s focus text: the godly versus the wicked.  This is again another example of the proverbial technique known as an opposite parallel– the comparison of truth made twice, but in different ways. 

Godliness and wickedness are two terms that certainly do not whet the appetites of spiritual seekers.  To be honest, if I were speaking to a room full of non-Christians, I would probably avoid these terms all together as they can conjure up archaic images of religion and tradition that may or may not help one understand the life change available by knowing God and discovering His plan for one’s life.  That being said, these two terms have immense value to those of us striving to deepen our walk with God and in order to absorb the truths of the book of Proverbs, we must become acquainted with them and find an understanding or what they mean to us today.

“Godliness” is perhaps the easiest term to define.  It’s simplest definition would be “being like God.”  Makes sense, right?  “Johnliness” would mean “being like John” and “Momliness” would mean “being like Mom.”  Ok, that’s an easy enough definition . . . just be like God.  Hmmmm, what kinds of things define who God is?

Limitless power.  Universe-creating brilliance.  Unapproachable light.  Self-sacrificial love.  Wisdom to judge every created being with total justice and fairness.  Knowledge of every thought, intention, and whim of all that breathes.  You know . . . God.

Well, being like God doesn’t sound that difficult, now does it?  I think my head may explode!  Perhaps now you are beginning to grasp the challenge of godliness and why so many people stumble over this concept.  If our goal is to do the things and act the way that God acts, we can never even get close to it. Create galaxies?  I was thrilled that I didn’t trip on my way to the coffee pot this morning!  By every academic process of scientific reasoning and philosophical thought, the goal of being like God is simply unattainable.  It just ain’t happening.

That’s where most people light when they read a passage such as this one. “Showered with blessings,” eh?  Well, I don’t have to worry about carrying an umbrella because I got no chance of being anything like God, even if I want to be.

Ah, but climb aboard the following train of thought for a ride through the mountains of spiritual comprehension.  Being like God is impossible if we are simply standing at a distance and wishing it to happen.  That’s like sitting at a professional football game and wishing that you can throw a football like Peyton Manning.  Dude, it ain’t gonna happen.  

But what if Peyton Manning invited you to his personal workout facility and started giving you private lessons?  What if he sat down with you daily and went through film and instructed you in the intricacies of secondary defensive formations and receiver routes?  What if he brought his personal trainer to your house and together they laid out a new dietary plan for you and a weight regiment to bulk up your muscles and trim down your flabbiness?  Oh, and what if you had an infinite amount of time to learn the tricks of the trade from Peyton himself?  Could you be like him then?  It definitely becomes more possible.

Better yet, what if Peyton could somehow reach down inside of himself and take out his talent, his passion for the game, his brilliance at understanding the sport, and his physical abilities and he somehow magically placed all those things inside of you?  You’d still have to work out like he does and study film like he does, but inside of you would now lay all the power, knowledge, and potential of the greatest quarterback of our age.  Yeah, that would be sweet!

You see, godliness is found somewhere between these two processes.  First of all, standing outside the game of life and wishing you are godly is as useless as wishing to start under center for the Colts.  But God Himself has initiated a process that transforms us to look and act more like Him.  He has brought us into His own home . . . His own family . . . and has given us access to all the resources of the heavenlies.  Prayer.  His Word.  Supernatural intervention. You name it and we have access to it.

But He hasn’t stopped there.  He has also taken the personality of His Son, Jesus, and has given us the opportunity to have Him take residence in our very hearts.  Through the Holy Spirit, we not only have access to the potential of being like God, we have a gateway to walk in the power of God.  Now, that doesn’t mean we can spit out oceans and speak worlds into existence, but it does mean that we can walk in wisdom, love, purity, and strength.  

Is it because we have done anything?  Well, we do have the role of asking and accepting what God is offering.  But at that point, we become godly only because God is with us.  Alter our initial definition of godliness and it becomes attainable.  Will we act differently?  You bet, but not because we have changed ourselves to be like God; rather, because we have been changed by Him to reflect His brilliance.

We’ll have plenty other opportunities to discuss “wickedness”, but for now, let’s just bask in the realization that godliness can be attained . . . just maybe not in the way we originally thought.

Maybe you should grab that umbrella after all!


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