Proverbs 12

The Evidence of Godliness.

“The way of the godly leads to life; that path does not lead to death.” ­– Proverbs 12:28 NLT

What does a godly person look like? What are the characteristics that mark the life of someone who claims to love God? Proverbs 12 gives us a good idea of what to look for and while most of these qualities are visible to the eye, they emanate from the heart. They are the fruit of godliness. They are the byproduct of a life lived in close dependence upon and in love with God. The danger is that we attempt to make them the end instead of the means. We too often try to make the fruit our goal, rather than pursue the only one who can make the fruit possible in our lives. Take a look at Solomon’s list and consider whether these attributes or character traits are evident in your life. If so, are they the result of your own hard work and determination? Have you become adept at manufacturing these things in your life so that others are impressed with your efforts? Or have they been produced in your life over time as a result of your pursuit of an intimate relationship with God?

The godly…

… love to learn and realize that discipline is one of their primary instructors.

… seek the approval of God in their lives, not the approval of men.

… do good whenever they have the opportunity, not evil.

… enjoy a sense of stability in their lives regardless of the circumstances.

… positively influence the lives of those around them.

… make plans that are right, just and fair, and safe for others to follow.

… speak words that build up, not tear down; and bring hope, not harm.

… leave a spiritual legacy through the next generation.
… win people over with their simple sensibility.

… don’t need to be the center of attention.

… are good stewards of all that God has put under their care.

… are hard workers and not lazy dreamers.

… are content with what they have.

… don’t get trapped by their own words.

… experience the benefits that come from speaking wisely and working diligently.

… seek the advice of others and don’t assume their way is always right.

… stay calm even when insulted.

… tell the truth when called upon.

… use their words to heal, not hurt.

… tell the truth and never have to worry about being caught in a lie.

… are filled with joy because they don’t plot evil against others.

… experience peace even in the midst of trouble, knowing they weren’t the cause of it.

… tell the truth for God’s sake, not their own.

… don’t flaunt what they know or live to impress others with their godliness.

… are natural leaders because of their diligence.

… encourage others with their words.

… give good advice that doesn’t lead others astray.

… are diligent and resourceful.

… pursue God’s way, which leads to life.

That’s quite a list. But don’t lose sight of the fact that the list is not the point. Don’t make the list your goal. We have to realize that NONE of us can do any of the things on that list in our own strength – at least not well, and not for long. We can fake them for a time, but ultimately, we will fail. Each of these things are the result of a relationship with God. He produces them in our life. They are the natural outflow of a life lived with Him. Godliness is only possible with a vibrant walk with God. Seek Him and these things will become evident in your life – over time. Seek these things and the only thing that will become evident is your inability to experience them. If you sense they are missing in your life, don’t try to manufacture them so you look more godly. Simply seek God.

Father, I waste far too much time trying to appear godly rather than seeking You so that You can make me godly. I tend to pursue the wrong thing. I want these characteristics in my life, but thank You for reminding me that they only come from a growing dependence upon You. Show me how to pursue You, not the fruit. Don’t let me fall in love with the idea of godliness more than I love You.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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