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Every morning when you approach the mirror to get ready, do you long to be more beautiful? Do you wish that you could simply put on one thing, or do just one thing, that would present you to the world looking just the way you would like to look? You can do that! Each and every day, you can adorn yourself with godliness.
That sounds rather churchy, doesn’t it? Or, maybe stiff and dull. Prim and proper. Even prideful. Goody two shoes kinda stuff. Right? But, what does it really mean to adorn yourself with godliness?
What “adorn yourself” means
The English word “adorn” translates the Greek word kosmeo from which we get our word “cosmetic.” It means, “to arrange, to put in order.”
Have you ever thought that as you were applying your make-up, you were actually putting your face in order? When you get ready for a big job interview, you’re actually arranging yourself in such a way by what you wear and how you act to demonstrate that you are truly the right person for the job. And, if you are married, you might make arrangements for a special dinner with your spouse and adorn yourself with his favorite dress, hairstyle and perfume. We adorn our homes to reflect who we are. We adorn ourselves in daily life to fulfill a purpose. Adorning yourself is a good thing. Adorning fulfills a purpose. The Bible says that we are to adorn ourselves with something called godliness. What is that?
What godliness means
Godliness is devotion to God expressed in a life that is pleasing to Him. Since it starts with devotion to God, we need to know what that means, don’t we?
The word devotion means profound dedication, earnest attachment to a cause or person. So, devotion to God means you are dedicated to Him. You are firmly attached to Him. Whatever He wants, you want. It is a loyal love for God. Godliness begins with that loyal love for God, that devotion to God.
But, it’s not just a warm, emotional feeling about God that we get when we have personal Bible reading and prayer or sing worship songs. Godliness is devotion in action. Something results from that devotion. Your love for God expresses itself in a life that reflects His character. Who He is. And that is pleasing to Him.
Godliness is devotion to God expressed in a life that is pleasing to Him.
We adorn ourselves with godliness by first being completely devoted to Him, loving Him so much that we want to reflect His character as we live our lives. We take on His likeness—Godlikeness, not becoming God but presenting Him. Jesus told His followers,
“Anyone who has seen me [Jesus] has seen the Father [God].” (John 14:6)
Jesus presented the attributes of Father God to everyone who saw Him. Jesus is our example of godliness as a human. He adorned Himself with godliness through humility, compassion, love, prayer, dependency on God the Father, good works, and many more ways. All those pointed to a God who was good and worthy of our devotion. Jesus loved His Father and felt His Father’s love. He submitted to His Father’s will. His words were in line with His Father’s words. His devotion to God was expressed in a life that was pleasing to God.
Devotion to God is not cold and austere. It’s not that picture we get from the old word “piety.” Some translations still use that. What do you think of when you hear that word “piety?” Boring. Dressed in grey, no color. No laughing. No pleasure. Serious all the time. That’s not biblical. Look at Jesus. He celebrated weddings with His family. He went on retreats to the mountains with His disciples. He ate meals in the homes of friends and foes. He radiated the joy of the Lord. He was not cold and austere.
Devotion to God is not just living by a set of rules. God isn’t interested in outward conformity. He had enough of that with the Jews. You’ll see that in the Old Testament. God doesn’t just want us to act properly. He’s interested in our hearts first. When our hearts are right, we will want to obey Him with our thinking and behavior. We will want to reflect Him well because we love Him so much. Godliness begins in the heart and mind then is lived out in words and behavior. That is adorning ourselves with godliness.
Adorning yourself with Christ
Have you ever done any sewing? I mean the kind where you start with a paper pattern and cut out material following that pattern? Women’s fashions begin that way.
Seamstresses use patterns to create fashion pieces to adorn themselves—a dress, skirt, or blouse. Looking at a single pattern piece for a dress won’t teach you how to make the dress. Looking at the finished product—the picture of the dress—gives you an idea of how the pieces fit together, though. A seamstress has the finished product in mind as she follows the instructions to use all the pattern pieces to construct the dress as it was designed.
This is similar to adorning ourselves with godliness. Since Jesus is our example of what it looks like to adorn ourselves with godliness, we need to read through the Gospels, getting to know Jesus well. Then, continue reading through the whole New Testament to get the big picture of what our salvation is all about and how others lived it out in their daily lives. How did they adorn themselves with godliness? We can learn from their examples. The book of Acts and the letters written by Paul and Peter reveal so much for us. Their pattern and our pattern is Christ.
Everything we are asked to do in the way of godliness was modeled for us by Jesus Himself. That’s why reading the Gospels is so important for every Christian. He is our model and our mentor showing us what it looks like to adorn ourselves with godliness.
But, here’s the absolutely wonderful news. When it comes to adorning yourself with godliness, be assured that God doesn’t ask you to do something without equipping you to do it.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NAS)
We have everything we need for godliness. How? First, we have His divine power. The moment you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you forever. He begins to work right away at transforming you to look more like Christ. Like the pattern pieces in sewing. He’ll start working on one thing at a time. He’ll start giving you love for people that you didn’t have before.
From the time you are saved until you die and enter heaven, the Spirit of God is continually at work in you. You are never alone. You are never without the ability to be godly. Not based on your own ability. His power in you working to bring about godliness in you. What assurance! We CAN adorn ourselves with godliness because of Jesus’ Spirit in us. We CAN live a godly life because of His Spirit in us.
But, it’s a cooperative effort. He is always working. But, we can resist His work. That’s why godliness begins with devotion to God. Loving Him so much that you want to live a godly life that pleases Him. That you want to look like Jesus Christ in your character and your conduct.
It’s not perfection. It’s love for God that leads to obedience and humility and awareness of Whose we are and why we are here. That leads to the why.
Why should you and I want to adorn ourselves with godliness?
Remember our definition of godliness. It is devotion to God expressed in a life that is pleasing to Him. It is taking on His character. His likeness. For Him. And to represent Him well.
You should want to adorn yourself with godliness first for God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ because of your love for them and gratitude for what they have done for your salvation (1 Timothy 4:10).
You should want to adorn yourself with godliness for ourselves and our fellow Christians because godly behavior is good for us in every way (1 Timothy 6:6, 19; Titus 2:11-13).
And, as Titus 2:10 says, you should want to adorn yourself with godliness because it makes the teaching about Christ attractive and draws unbelievers to the God we know and serve. So, it is also for those who are watching.
Among those watching are the “fashion police.” Those are the ones who oppose Christ and the Gospel. They are always watching, looking for an excuse not to believe. When we adorn ourselves with godliness, there is nothing for “them” to accuse.
Among those watching are the “shoppers.” They are looking for the right thing to grab for their lives. Their hearts are open to God. They just need to see Him in the flesh, to see Him through you and I displaying His character. They want to believe. When we adorn ourselves with godliness, that helps them to see the Gospel and believe it.
For either group, the fashion police or the shoppers, when we adorn ourselves with godliness because of our love for Him, the word of God will not be dishonored or discredited. The Gospel is God’s message to the world seen in our lives.
Jesus Christ gave His life for you so He could give His life to you so He could live His life through you. (Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ)
You may never be a master seamstress. But, as a Christians, you not only have the pattern set before you, but you also have the master designer “in-house” giving you the resources to do whatever needs to be done. You can adorn yourself with godliness. You can live a godly life. Yet, it’s a daily choice.
You can make the daily choice to adorn yourself with godliness.
Every morning, you can look in the mirror each morning and see who you really are, a woman of God who is totally loved and accepted by Him because of your faith in His Son Jesus Christ. You can choose to “dress” in such a way to let others see Him in you. This isn’t about “acting religious.” God is not interested in outward conformity. This is about “wearing Him comfortably!”
What could be a more beautiful, worthwhile goal than to adorn yourself with godliness…to put yourself in order with the very character of God … to arrange or live your life properly displaying the beliefs you claim to profess … to dress, act, and be like Him for Him!
Will you choose to adorn yourself with godliness? Study 1 Timothy and Titus to find out how.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with such love for God that you will want to live a life that pleases Him.
P.S. Cleanliness is not next to godliness. No amount of disinfecting wipes can change a human heart.