Volume. XXXIII, No. 32
Sunday, 03 February 2019

From the Pastor’s Heart: How to be Godly (Part 13)

When we talk about “how to be godly,” it is obvious that we talk about it from the Christian perspective.  Then we consider this important subject from the believers’ eyes.  It means that we talk about the subject as the people of faith in God.  These thoughts naturally lead us to ask a question: “why do believers not attain the state of godliness?”  Why does our faith not lead us to godliness?  It could be answered in many different ways.  One clear and sure answer may be provided by the nature and attributes of faith itself.  When we talk about faith, we should not understand it as a static force without any change or fluctuation.  There are many kinds of faith like strong faith, weak faith, or little faith.  The disciples of Jesus asked Him to increase their faith.  Yes, faith is not stationary but moveable, in terms of its stature.  Likewise, godliness is also nonstationary.  What it means is that godliness is a process.  It can be greater or smaller godliness, which cautions us to watch and to pray.  When we are in little faith or not so godly, we may be in a state of not understanding God’s will for us according to a certain direction in life.  Our prayer life may be weak.  We may serve the Lord but mostly in a general manner without any watchfulness over our particular actions.  At times, when we are backslidden, we think that being godly or training ourselves to be godly is burdensome, which misleads our minds to quit self-disciplining but to find contentment from somewhere else like the lust of flesh and pleasure in the world.  Following this line of thought, let us talk about a few attitudes toward the goal of godliness.


1. No pain, no gain: it comes from a very simple truth that the Christian armor is needed for spiritual battles. Without putting on the proper armor, we cannot go out to fight, or even if we battle, we will not be able to win but will lose.  We not only put the Christian armor on, but also make sure that this armor is strong and ready to be used.  In order to have a solid and protective armor, we must put lots of effort to build each part up to be strong and impeccable.  The enemy is a strong one, the devil.  There are also lots of allurements of sin, which must be resisted.  In order to subdue these enemies, we ought to be strong.  In order to be ready for this battle, we must train ourselves, which is difficult and even painful.  However, without pain, there is no gain.  If we do not strive to win, we cannot overcome our enemies. 


2. With pain, no gain, then no misery: we do not expect a perfect pilgrim journey, in which there are victories all the times without any defeats. In reality, we do fail and are defeated by our enemies.  Though we are given armor, we may be unskillful in its use, despondent and discouraged, and weak in the flesh.  As long as we are in our weak state, we cannot but fall from time to time.  However, in such times, there is a promise of God that He will not leave us alone.  We will not be swallowed up by defeats of despair.  Who is able to climb up Mount Everest on his first ever attempt to climb up a mountain?  Isn’t it true that there are numerous days of practice needed?  Isn’t it true that even seasoned mount-climbers have spent months years, and decades in trying to overcome difficulties and hindrances to reach the peaks?  In the process of trying and trying again, many climbers have even lost their lives.  Who can get an Olympic gold medal in ice skating, without falling and injuring himself?  Then, why are we in despair, even if we have failed to reach the level of godliness we hope for?  There are times we do not gain, though we suffer pain.  In such times, we are not in misery.  We learn to grow through mistakes and failures.  We also learn to be resilient with patience and faith.  We keep on moving upward. 


3. The armor is a help, not a burden: as soon as we talk about righteousness, faith, the Word of God, discipline, or training, we begin to feel burdens. Though pain and challenges are implied in training ourselves unto godliness by having a good and solid armor, we should know that the end result, or fruit of it, is sweet and profitable.  When seeds are sown under the ground, they must die to themselves.  And there are hardships, when they sprout out of the ground.  However, there is a hope of harvest.  There are times of being held back by storms, heat, rain, and cold, but they continue to grow till fully mature and ripened with multiplied grains.  The armor helps us to be rooted and grounded in the truth of God.  It is not a burden.


We have studied that there are three public means of grace: (1) the ministry of the Word, (2) the partaking of the sacraments, and (3) public prayers.  We also studied that there are seven private means of grace.  They are (1) watchfulness, (2) meditation, (3) the armor of a Christian, (4) reflecting on our own experience, (5) the use of company by godly conversation and family exercises, (6) prayer, and (7) reading.  Now we are going to consider the fourth private help, which is spiritual experience.



Spiritual experience

Rogers explains that “spiritual experience is related to the piece of armor called the sword of the Spirit – that is, the Word of God – for it concerns the knowledge we learn by proof or trial for our spiritual progress.  There are two aspects to knowledge.  There is the knowledge we get by rule and the knowledge we get by proof or trial.  The letter of Scripture gives us knowledge by rule.  By the application of Scripture, we learn by trial.  Experience concerns this second aspect of knowledge” (Kindle, loc, 1515-1521 of 2097). 


1. There is a difference between experiential knowledge and theoretical knowledge. We learn facts, rules, instructions, and principles by textbooks in school.  However, when we graduate from school and get jobs in the real world, we finally realize that we really do not know much.  Even if we got perfect scores in classroom tests, we may not be successful in the real job market.  When young people learn skills in any trade, they go to school for some time to learn theories.  Then, they are sent out for apprenticeships to help them learn real skills, or how to apply what they learnt to their actual work.  Experiential knowledge confirms and strengthens head knowledge for greater advantage and profits.  So it is in spiritual life.  If we learn from the Bible and get acquainted with all the essential parts of Christian religion, we should be able to live by it, which means that our biblical knowledge should be practiced and experienced.  If what we have learnt remains only as factual knowledge without experiences, it is only the knowledge of the letter.  This knowledge will not help us to live by faith according to the biblical principles.  It is the meaning when James exhorts us not to be hearers only but doers. 


2. By experiencing God’s Word, we will revere God’s Word even more. Otherwise, we may honor it in words only.  For example, when we experience God’s chastisement for our sins, we know what God’s holiness and justice mean by experience.  When we experience His protection and provision, we will rely on Him more and more even in times of troubles.   We learn that God is good.  It is also true that there are many inexplicable miseries in life.  How can we know God is good (lessons we get from the Bible) in times of troubles (reality of life)?  By having experiential knowledge, we gain extra strength to move forward and upward.  Experiential knowledge is an important part in the course of godliness.  Based on past experience, we are emboldened to withstand sins and iniquities when temptation comes, and to take comforts in times of needs and trials.  Rogers says, “When we have observed that God has punished presumption, ill conscience, rashness, and willful sinning, this experiential knowledge brings great wisdom in the choice of our ways.  It causes us to take heed to ourselves, that it may go well with us.  Our experience of the fruit of godliness is the best means for continuing in it” (Kindle loc. 1548 of 2097).



Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Wednesday Prayer Meeting & Bible Study commences this week. Please avail yourself for this.
  • Family Easter Bible Camp - those willing to serve in the committee, please see Dn Kevin Low or Bro Edy Lok.
  • Fellowship Hall is available for those seeking relief from the heatwave. Please contact Dn Kevin Low or Bro Edy Lok for access.
  • New overseas students will be coming to our church in coming weeks. Please make them feel welcome.
  • Missions teams going to Batam, Cebu & Phnom Penh next month. Please give your encouragement, prayers & support.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: AFG. Next week: VFG.

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Journey mercies: for those who have travelled.


  • Special prayer for healing & quick recovery.
  • Mission Trips: Cebu: 2-12 Feb. Batam: 13-14 Feb. Cambodia: 15-26 Feb.
  • Missions: Phnom Penh.
  • Journey mercies: all who are travelling.

A comprehensive prayer list is available at the Sanctuary foyer. Please take a copy for your personal or corporate prayer time.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041