Ungodliness is at the root of all other sins.
Ungodliness & wickedness are not the same. In the Bible Paul distinguishes ungodliness from unrighteousness. Ungodliness describes an attitude toward God, while unrighteousness refers to sinful actions in thought, word, or deed.
Someone can lead a respectable life & still be ungodly in the sense that God is essentially irrelevant in his or her life. They may even attend church for an hour or so each week but then live the remainder of the week as if God doesn't exist. They are not wicked people, but they are ungodly.
Now, the sad fact is that many of us who are believers tend to live our daily lives with little or not thought of God. We may even read our Bibles & pray for a few minutes at the beginning of each day, but then we go out into the day's activities & basically live as though God doesn't exist. We seldom think of our dependence on God or our responsibility to Him. We might go for hours with no thought of God at all. In that sense, we are hardly different from our nice, decent, but unbelieving neighbor.
James (James 4:13-15) condemns their planning that does not acknowledgte their dependence on God. We, too, make our plans without recongizing our utter dependence on God to carry them out.
Expressions of ungodliness:
*we make our plans without reognizing our utter dependence on God to carry them out
*we seldom think about the will of God &, for the most part, are content to avoid obvious sins
Do our prayers reflect a concern for God's will & God's glory & a desire that our lives will be pleasing to God?
We are not only to eat to the glory of God, we are to drive to the glory of God, we are to shop to the glory of God, & we are to engage in our social relationships to the glory of God. Everything we do is to be done to the glory of God. That is the mark of a godly person.
To do all to the glory of God is a twofold goal. First, desire that all you do is pleasing to God. So pray prospectively over the day, asking that the Holy Spirit will so direct thoughts, words, & actions that they will be pleasing to God. Secondly, desire that all activities of an ordinary day will honor God before other people. If everone you interact with in the course of an ordinary day knows that you trust in Christ as Savior & Lord, would your words & actions glorify God before them? Or would you prehaps be like the father of whom one of his children said, "If God is like my father, I want nothing to do with God"?
Do we consciously & prayerfully seek His glory in all we say & do in our most ordinary activites of the day? Or do we actually go about those activities with little or not thought of God?
Is our meager desire to develop an intimate relationship with God?
A person may be moral & upright, or even busy in Christian service, yet have little or no desire to develop an intimate relationship with God. This is a mark of ungodliness.
God is the center & focal point of the godly person's life. A God-centeredness can be developed only in the context of an ever-growing intimate relationship with God.
No Christian is totally godly. But how ungodly are we? How much of our life do we live without any regard for God? How much of our daily activites do we go through without any reference to God?
It's not that we consciously or deliberately put God out of our minds. We just ignore Him. He is seldom in our thoughts.
Think how it would curb our life, for example, if we consciously lived every day in the awareness that all we are, all we have, & all we accomplish is by the grace of God. "there but for the grace of God go we" Self-righteous pride, one of the more common of our acceptable sins, is a direct product of our ungodly thinking.
Sins of the tongue, such as gossip, sarcasm, & other unkind words to or about another person, cannot thrive in an awareness that God hears every word we speak.
I believe that all our other acceptable sins can ultimately be traced to this root sin of ungoliness. To use a tree as an illustration, we can think of all our sins, big & small, growing out of the trunk of pride. But that which sustains the life of the tree is the root system, in this case the root of ungodliness.
"Train yourself for godliness" (I Timothy 4:7) The word "train" comes from the athletic culture of that day & refers to the pracitive athletes went through daily to prepare themselves to compete in their athletic contests. It implies, among other things, commitment, consistency, & discipline in training.
Prayerfully consider the message of this chapter & honestly ask yourself how much of your life is lived with little or not thought of God.
Identify specific areas of life where you tend to live without regard to God. Work? Hobbies? Playing or watching sports? Driving?
Scriptures to ponder: I Tim 4:7-8, I Cor 10:31, Col 1:9-10 & 3:23, Pslm 42: 1-2; 63:1; 27:4
Above all, pray that God will make you more conscious of the fact that you live every moment of very day under His all-seeing eye.
These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges