In the Bible, nothing negative is written about Joseph or Daniel. Both were promoted to the king’s court. Both stood alone for what is right. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den; Joseph was thrown into a pit by jealous brothers and later into prison. Daniel interpreted dreams, Joseph interpreted dreams. Neither changed the interpretations to save himself. They were men of God. They exhibited godly character qualities. They never once backed down or compromised what is right.
In a day when we have a desperate need for godly people in our homes, at work, among friends, and as leaders, I think it would do us well to determine the characteristics of a godly person. We could look at many passages of Scripture, but for the sake of choosing one, I think the very first psalm gives us a wonderful characterization of what a godly person looks like, acts like, and thinks like. Let’s take a closer look.
First, the godly person orders his life around godly counsel: “Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (v. 1). A godly person is not too proud to seek advice or too self-centered to ask. He understands that he can still learn and there is much he doesn’t know. He wants to dip into the well of godly advisement.
Second, the godly person seeks friends with fellow believers: “Nor stands in the path of sinners” (v. 1). That does not mean he does not have friendships with unsaved people. But I believe his closest friends are believers. No matter how successful, sophisticated, or influential unsaved people are, a godly person longs to have his or her closest friends be persons of godly character who follow after God’s heart.
Third, the godly person gets enjoyment, encouragement, and refreshment from the Word of God: “His delight is in the law of the Lord” (v. 2). He loves the Bible more than television, hobbies, or any other form of entertainment. He not only delights in the Word of God, but also meditates on it: “And in His law he meditates day and night” (v. 2). Meditation is gnawing on what was just read. It is different from memorizing. Meditation asks questions. What did this just tell me about God? What did this just tell me about myself? What do I need to change? How does this apply to my work, friends, and home? Meditating on Scripture is absorbing the truth into our very being. It is totally different from a cursory reading.
Fourth, the godly person will successfully stand the storms of life: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water” (v. 3). His or her roots go down deep. The godly person has a taproot all the way down to Jesus Christ. He is continually being nourished, refreshed, and cleansed by his relationship with Christ. He can stand all the winds of life because he is firmly rooted.
Fifth, the godly person is a fruitful person: “That brings forth its fruit in season” (v. 3). He is more interested in investing in a life than merely spending his. He is interested not only in how much fruit he spreads, but also in its quality. “And his leaf does not wither” (v. 3). He sticks with it. He can be counted on. He doesn’t wither under pressure. He is consistent. He is faithful and loves bearing fruit. He plods away at investing his life in the lives of others. He doesn’t live for a paycheck. He understands that winning others to Christ is more important than reaching the top of his profession.
The beginning of being a godly person is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. That’s the foundation to build on. Homes need him. Churches need him. The world needs him. I hope you know one. I hope you are one. I hope I am one.
What else comes to mind when you think of a godly person?