re:FRESH – Godliness

“The One Compliment You Didn’t Know About”

Pick one word you want people to say about you. What is one compliment you would love to hear over and over?

Perhaps one of these words came to mind: brave, bold, beautiful, smart, strong, funny, respected, talented, inspiring, hard-working.

These are all good things. Anyone of us would love for someone we work with, someone we lead, our spouse or kids to say one of those things about us. But if they said another word, a word we don’t use very much. A word that honestly feels like another level, one that few of us ever reach.  

Ready for it?  

Okay here it goes…


I know it’s not what you expected, and you can’t exactly put that word on your resume.  One of the best compliments someone can give you is – “You are godly.”  

When Peter, a follower of Jesus, realized for the first time that he was actually seeing God while standing with Jesus, reacted like this…

“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken” – Luke 5:8-9

Peter, like you, becomes a little uncomfortable in the presence of someone who is ‘godly.’ It’s weird how when we think about such people, or walk by certain people, it’s like our sin, and our lack of goodness is so overwhelming. Some of us even change our behavior and language. To be honest I don’t know if I want to make people feel that way in my presence. But Peter begs us in his farewell essay to add this trait on our faith journey:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness…” -2 Peter 1:5-6

Originally, Peter was making every effort to peace out from Jesus, and anything that had to do with godliness, and now he is telling us to make every effort to add godliness to our pursuits. Why?

Godliness can be defined as “reverence or respect towards God.” To be godly is to have ‘a godly heart response’ that naturally expresses itself in reverence for God.  

It’s weird because: when you finally see God as holy and magnificent, and then you realize that you are not God, but you actually are human, and sinful; that’s actually what godliness means. And that is the quality that Peter displayed when he realized who Jesus was and who he himself was not. Naturally, he spent the rest of his life following God, and leading others to do so.

Peter saw God, and he saw himself, and then he began living differently out of that experience.  He possessed reverence and respect for God that led him to live a certain way. Perhaps you are more godly than you thought.

Are you godly?  How do you add godliness to your faith?

  1. Godly people are honest. You are who you are. A human, with flaws and weakness. You need help. You have issues. You have relationships that are hard.  You struggle with selfishness. You might think you are better than you are. You might think you are worse than you are. It’s incredibly difficult to admit that. It shouldn’t be, however, because you know you are not God. Godly people are able to admit the truth about themselves. Peter pronounces out loud, “I am a sinful man.” The more you spend time with Jesus, the more you will see who he really is, and who you really are. When you are honest, even about your flaws, you are actually more like God.
  2. Godly people are humble.  Not only did Peter confess who he truly was, he also asked Jesus to leave. Why? Because when we are standing with Jesus, people pay attention. Humble is letting others know that you are honest about yourself. It’s one thing to privately admit you are a mess, but to publicly admit it. Let’s be honest, that’s difficult. We want respect, we want praise, we want credit, we want others to notice. Peter had an opportunity to be like, “Did you guys see how I obeyed so well and carefully cast that net perfectly. Yeah, I am awesome!”  Instead, Peter fell to his knees, and begged God to leave, positioning all credit and honor to him. Do you do that? Like, when you are a good parent, leader, spouse or citizen, do you credit God, or do you lift yourself up? Godly people repel praise to the one who deserves it.
  3. Godly people are holy. Before you count yourself out because of this word holy, it doesn’t mean what you think. The word holy literally means, ‘set apart as different or unlike the rest of the world.’ Here is what Peter says about being holy in his previous letter.

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

You and I lived in ignorance. You have struggled with being honest about what is actually going on inside of you. You were ignorant to what God really is like. Now that you know the truth about yourself, which is God-like, God knows who He is.  And when you choose to be humble, like Jesus was–guess what that’s different than most people. To be holy is to be different from the world, and thus, more like God. Once you are there how can you not then seek to be different or ‘holy’ in all you do. Your actions, how you treat others, how you speak to others, how you work, how you live, it should be different, than before. It might be so different, that it’s holy.  

Jesus was honest, humble, and holy. You can be honest, humble and holy. I wrote this down the other day when I was studying and praying, and then I hung it up above my desk to constantly remind me of something important.  It goes like this… “Don’t try to impress others, rather leave an impression of Jesus on others.”  Be honest. Be humble. Be holy. If you add godliness, others will catch a glimpse of Jesus through you. The best people you have ever encountered, the ones that refresh you, I would venture to say they were godly.

-Tim Rives

Lead Pastor, Southside Church Henry County


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