What is godly character, and how is it demonstrated? If we see people praying, does that mean they are godly? Perhaps. Prayer is undoubtedly a good start, and we need God’s Spirit’s help to have a righteous character. We will soon see that even Jesus got alone to pray to his heavenly Father. There is no better example of a devout character than that of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Today, we will look at six things that happened in the early days of his ministry, giving us an example of a real godly character.
Chronological Bible Studies, Day 261
1. Godly Character is expressed by service
In today’s Bible reading, Jesus and his disciples attend a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. During this, an embarrassing situation arises for the hosts—they run out of wine. Jesus is reluctant to make his name known so early, but he transforms water into wine. Not only does Jesus desire to be helpful, but he displays his glorious power to his new disciples, and they put their faith in him (John 2:11). If we can help people in need, do we aid them or just promise to support them? What we do demonstrates whether we have a godly character or not.
2. Our passions reveal whether we have a godly character or not
What are we passionate about—sports, hobbies, success in the business world? Jesus is passionate about God, particularly the sanctity of his heavenly Father’s house—the temple of God (John 2:13-17). He does not want people to make the place where his Father is worshipped a house of merchandise.
Do we do that in our churches? What do people think of our places of worship? Are we just another money-making enterprise, or do people see our church as a place of caring people, Bible teaching, reverence, and worship? Are we concerned about God’s character in our churches?
3. Our motivations determine our godly character
Why-we-do-what-we-do also shows people if we have a godly character. What is our motivation for our good deeds—is it to be noticed or to receive praise? Is it to show people our power and influence? Jesus is not politically motivated; he does not entrust himself to any man (John 2:23-25). Jesus performs miracles out of pure motives—he does them to fulfill God’s will and give him glory. Do we do things out of pure motives or selfishness?
4. Whether we do things for God’s will or ours determines a godly character
Nicodemus, the head of a religious group called the Pharisees, comes to Jesus at night. He compliments him, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him” (John 3:2 NIV). Nicodemus’s use of the word “we” means that he represents the Pharisees. This statement is probably flattery because the Pharisees do not like Jesus and seek to trap this new teacher in his words.
Is Jesus’ plan to become a great teacher and miracle worker, or does he also have political ambitions? No. According to the Apostle John, Jesus came from heaven to give his life for us on the cross of Calvary (John 3:13-17). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV). People who look to Jesus in belief, trusting only in his sacrifice on their behalf, receive forgiveness and spiritual life, which lasts forever. We are born again—this time, spiritually. Later, Nicodemus does trust in Christ (John 19:39).
In considering God’s plan for us, have we received Jesus Christ as our Savior? If so, are we using our gifts and abilities for him or just for us?
5. Humility and Contentment demonstrate a godly character
If we serve others humbly and are content to do what God has called us to do, we show ourselves to be devout.
Jesus came to save the world from their sins. That’s big! John the Baptist, however, was chosen by God to fulfill a lesser but still significant role. He refuses to get himself involved in religious competition with Jesus. John knows his place and purpose in the world. He confesses, “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’… He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:28, 30, NIV).
Is it acceptable to us if we are one of many servants in God’s plans, using the talents he has given us, or do we need to be the leader, the boss, the mover and shaker? Do we take the focus off of ourselves so that the Lord will receive more glory, and we receive less attention? God will reward those who are faithful, and he will give greater responsibility to them (Luke 12:42-44). We do not have to take it ourselves.
6. Our godliness is shown by how we use our resources
Jesus offers the woman a drink of everlasting life at the well, which he can give her. We cannot provide eternal life—only God can do that, but we have the message of salvation to share. We also have material resources, gifts, talents, and encouragement to give. Will we share them?
What are six evidences of a godly character?
Can we accomplish godliness on our own? What else is needed?
We need the help of his Spirit to become more godly. Let this song encourage you: A Little More Like You, sung by Ivan Parker
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Here is a video of Jesus and Nicodemus
Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:
Please send your comments to me, Rodney Harrier
Looking Ahead: Jesus has godly character which is attractive. He could celebrate and enjoy his early popularity and success, but instead, he keeps his Focus. Find out what that means and how it applies to us in our Next Lesson.
Used with permission from Rodney Harrier.