Let’s face it, godliness is not overly exciting. Who can recall bestselling novels or box office movies about ordinary people living godly lives? There are exceptions to the rule, but even then, without a dose of violence, sex, or adventure thrown somewhere into the plot there is little to grab the attention. This particularly stands out in the lives of the people society loves to celebrate. The virtue par excellence most lauded in this country is that of the free-spirited larrikin. Whether in sport, politics, or the media, no quality seems to capture the collective imagination and praise as someone hailed a larrikin. The recent tragic death of one of Australia’s greatest cricketers was a reminder of this.
From what I can make out, to be a certified larrikin means acquiring a reputation for some if not all of the following – 1. Excessive alcohol consumption, 2. Sexual promiscuity, 3. Irreverent behaviour, 4. Disdain for rules and authority. Whatever consequences may emerge out of such behaviour, it is far more forgivable than the boring, kill-joy, hate-filled lives of those who eschew Biblical values. Shane Warne is a national treasure while Margaret Court a national disgrace. Bob Hawke is a lovable rogue and John Howard a contemptable conservative. Contrast the cavalier swashbuckling attitude of Keith Miller to the reclusive, quiet, retiring life of Don Bradman. While Bradman is acknowledged for his greatness at the crease, he just didn’t resonate with a society that revels in party-boy antics.
Godliness may not be exciting, it may not create a headline or result in award winning movies, but it is highly valued by God. It is highly rewarding to those who practice it. There is something so eminently desirable and beautiful about the fruit of the Spirit. That something is actually a someone. The person of Jesus Christ is the sum and substance of these godly qualities.
* Love – the highest of all virtues, demonstrated not only toward those who love us but our enemies.
* Joy – delighting in the blessings of God even when providence is hard.
* Peace – resting in the love, power and wisdom of God and consequently reaching out as a peace maker.
* Longsuffering – the patience to persevere in what is good and right.
* Kindness – putting others before self and seeking to be a blessing to them.
* Goodness – moral uprightness and integrity.
* Faithfulness – being reliable, dependable, following through on your word.
* Gentleness – treating others with care and consideration, not exploiting weakness, or behaving rudely.
* Self-control – maintaining a cool head in disagreements and when provoked.
Godliness is a long slow work, it is a hard work, it is a low-key work, it is an unassuming work, but it is a work of eternal significance. The larrikin may win the praises of a spiritually bankrupt society, but godliness will not be regretted. Godliness does not end in guilt, shame, scandal, brokenness, or tears.
Lord, help us to love and seek after the fruit of the Spirit in that we love and seek after your Son.