Let Your Godliness Shine:
Christ’s Teaching on Ministering by Deed
Christ urges us to convey the message of God to others through our deeds: let your Godliness radiate impact to others “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” [Matthew 5:16; Luke 8:16]. If we do this, people will be drawn to us as they were drawn to him.
GODLINESS DRAWS PEOPLE People were drawn to Jesus because of his Godliness, which manifested as the power to perform miracles, heal diseases, cast out demons, and explain the word of God clearly. Similarly, human Godliness draws people and manifests as living in the image of God: whereby the person is a channel for God’s compassion (i.e., God’s provider assistant) and conveyor of the image of God. People feel the hand of God in the person’s actions. In this bible study, we examine accounts of people being drawn to Jesus in large numbers because of his Godliness, share understanding of what it means for a person to be Godly and let his/her Godliness shine to impact others. Also, we will recall an example from the life of Joseph to illustrate people being drawn to a person because of Godliness.
People Came to Him from Every Direction
Large crowds followed Jesus everywhere as he taught in the synagogues and healed every disease and sickness. People were drawn to him because they heard they could get healed and the demon-possessed freed. He preached the message of God’s kingdom but they came mostly because of the physical benefit they expected: “When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon” [Mark 3:8]. People were drawn to him because of his deeds.
HIS COMPASSION Also, his compassion was evident. He didn’t just heal the sick because he could. He healed them because he cared and his caring manifested in his interactions. The case of a man with leprosy [Matthew 8:1–4] presents a good example. The man knelt before him and said “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” [Matthew 8:2]. Not minding that people with leprosy were supposed to be kept at a “safe” distance, Jesus reached out and touched the man and healed him. Then he advised the man to go report to the priest and perform the required customary rites in order to be re-admitted into society. He did not just heal the man, he also counseled him on how to gain re-admission into society.
GODLINESS His compassion; power to perform miracles, heal the sick, and cast out demons; and clear mastery of the word of God—all were manifestations of his being God. People did not know he was God. However, they believed his actions were of God. Therefore, we can say that people were drawn to him because of his Godliness. This conclusion is important because it establishes the basis for the human influence that he urges of us. Humans, like Christ, possess the quality of Godliness, not necessarily in the form of the power of miracles (though, certain people do have that power). Human Godliness manifests as living in the image of God and has the ability to draw people the same way that Christ’s Godliness drew people to him.
Human Godliness manifests as living in the image of God: being a channel for God’s compassion and conveyor of his image.
CHANNEL FOR GOD’S COMPASSION A person is a channel for God’s compassion (i.e., God’s provider assistant) if she is sensitive to the needs around her. Being sensitive to needs implies the person is attentive to recognize the needs and commits to doing what he can to provide for them. It is God’s purpose that each person be his provider assistant. Christ describes the purpose using the Parable of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10:30–35] and the Parable of the sheep and the goats [Matthew 25:34–40]. As we discussed in a previous bible study at This_Link, the role of God’s provider assistant can be satisfied by providing either free or for-fee service to address a need. Providing for-fee service, having determined to charge a fee in order to provide the service effectively, would satisfy the provider-assistant responsibility if the fee is fair (non-exploitative) and necessary to provide the service effectively.
CONVEYOR OF IMAGE OF GOD A person conveys the image of God in human interactions if his actions provide a Godly impact, i.e., provide reasonable opportunity for the affected and observer to feel that God is reaching for them through the interactions. Such impact occurs when a person’s attitude conveys dependability, friendliness, peace, truthfulness, respect, humility, and other similar qualities such as Paul listed in his letter to Galatians [5:22–23].
HUMAN GODLINESS DRAWS PEOPLE A person that lives in the image of God would draw people in much the same way as Christ drew people because of his Godliness. We draw an example from the life of Joseph (eleventh son of Jacob) while in Egypt as a slave servant in the house of the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, Potiphar.
At Potiphar’s house, Joseph was initially just a servant. He was obedient, hard-working, and resourceful. As we discussed in a previous bible study at This_Link, he had the reputation of being attentive to needs, got involved in providing for the needs that he identified, and was successful in his tasks. Potiphar soon became aware of Joseph’s reputation as a child of God that was involved in a wide range of tasks and was successful in every task [Genesis 39:3]. Potiphar elevated Joseph to the position of his personal assistant, placed him in charge of his household and everything he owned. Joseph’s transition to this position and level of trust likely occurred gradually over time, with more responsibilities being assigned to him as he showed himself to be capable and trustworthy at every opportunity. People were drawn to him because of his Godliness.
ESSENCE OF CHILD OF GOD Human Godliness is the essence of being a child of God. A person’s Godliness makes people recognize him/her as a child of God. As Christ describes in the Sermon on the Mount: “By their fruit you will recognize them” [Matthew 7:16]. He further explained that calling him “Lord, Lord” is not what makes a person Godly: a Godly person is one that “does the will of my Father who is in heaven” [Matthew 7:21]. As we discussed in a previous bible study at This_Link, the will of his father is that every person live in the image of God, i.e., be a conveyor of the image of God and a channel for his compassion. People will be drawn to every person that lives in the image of God as they were drawn to Christ during his human ministry.