Author Anna Quindlen released a book in 2000 titled A Short Guide to a Happy Life. It definitely is short – fifty pages. It’s a small book with lots of pictures. Even someone that doesn’t like to read can work through her book quickly. I love Quindlen’s simplicity and succinct way of describing the key to happiness. I love her book so much that I’ve thought about writing a similar book titled A Short Guide to a Godly Life. It’s on my list of books to write. Maybe one day…
In the meantime, I’ll share my thoughts in a short article. How can we live a godly life? I would narrow the answer to this question down to four things.
First of all, humility is key. If you read the biographies of great Christian leaders of the past, you’ll find they understood they were products not of themselves and their own doing but rather they were recipients of God’s amazing grace. They understood this reality every day. They knew they were nothing without Christ. Isaac Watts called himself a worm when he wrote these lyrics in his classic hymn, Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed.
“Alas! And did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?”
Considering yourself to be a worm is pretty humbling. Considering yourself to be a worm that God loves is amazing!
The second element to living a godly life is obedience. But don’t misunderstand. Some see obedience to the Christian faith like a duty to be joylessly endured. Some consider that being a “good Christian” means following a list of rules. Some think we must be fearfully obedient like a slave to a slave master. When I think of obeying Christ and His teachings, I consider it a joy and a pleasure. I am grateful to be included in His plan. I want to obey and live like Jesus as much as I possibly can, not to earn His favor, but because He has selflessly poured His favor on me! I believe Christian living should be a “want to” faith not a “have to.” I want to reflect the character of Jesus, so I follow His lead and His instructions.
Selflessness will be the next chapter in my short book. Similar to humility, selflessness is more of an act while humility is more of an attitude. Self-centeredness is the foundation of sin. Selfish living is what makes our world so complicated. If we can turn selfishness into selflessness and pride into humility, what a different world it would be! What if everyone approached life by asking not, “What’s in it for me?” but rather “What’s in it for we?”
Okay. I know that last sentence isn’t grammatically correct but we sounded better than us.
The fourth and final answer to the question, “How can I live a godly life?” is to have a servant’s heart. Being willing to selflessly serve others is the way of Jesus. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples the night before they abandoned Him. Jesus said He did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). In the same way, we are to serve others with the same love, grace, and mercy that Christ has shown to us.
An even shorter guide to living a godly life can be found in Psalm 37:4,
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” As you delight in Him, you will live a full and pleasing life.”
Maybe we should look at ourselves in the mirror every morning and remind ourselves, “I am a worm, but I am a worm that God loves!” Then go out and selflessly serve our fellow worms.