Godliness and the Spiritual Disciplines
I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3)
Godliness is reflected in the values we demonstrate when we carry out our daily tasks, and by the choices we make that reflect our ethical judgments about what is right and wrong. Things as simple as the way we negotiate and what we buy and sell reflect our godliness or betray our ungodliness.
The spiritual disciplines, like meditation on God's Word, have their place to train us and prepare us to live life ethically as God demands, to judge reality in terms of God's law. However, doing spiritual disciplines—Bible study, prayer, community worship—do not define godliness. Doing what we have learned and know is right, regardless of the apparent risks, every day, day after day, persistently, defines godliness.
Without time in the Word and prayer, we will not have a map to guide us. But without a transfer from our devotional time to our checkbooks, our calendars, and our work, our time in the Word, in prayer, and even in communion with others in worship, is fruitless. We are fooling ourselves if we think otherwise.
Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge. But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge—the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11–12)
Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Rom.14:4)
In helping people reconcile conflicts, I discovered that most conflicts that strangle organizations are born of judgements not based on God's law, but on personal law and personal offense. These personal sanctions are pronounced in whispers as gossip. Love is not easily offended says Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. We are not to be tailbearers, threatening the lives of others says Leviticus 19:16 and James 4:11–12.
Another contributor is an irresistible desire to control the group. Who died and left you in charge?
We have to judge to live, we do it all day every day. We get into trouble when we judge outside of the limits of God's Word. My four simple principles
- Judge yourself first, get the log out (Matt. 7:1–5).
- Judge according to the facts established by two or three witnesses and according to the standard of God's law. Repeated gossip doesn't qualify.
- Don't judge if you don't have jurisdiction—or at least keep your judgments to yourself
- Leave vengeance to the Lord (Rom. 12:19; Deut. 32:35). If you can't establish the facts or if it's outside your jurisdiction, relax, no one gets away with anything, eventually there will be justice though you might not see it. A man will reap what he sows. You will too you know.