What does it look like to live a life pleasing to God in everything we do? Living a godly life should be the aspiration of every follower of Christ. We all know that, but often struggle to discover how this plays out in practical terms. Inconsistency marks our lives, and we can well identify with the lament of the Apostle Paul: “I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate…” (Romans 7:15).
King David wrestled with this as well and laid out some signposts for us to live a godly life. To wholly devote our lives to Christ, there are practical things we can do every day to live the life He created us to live.
David addressed what living a godly life looks like a few times in the Psalms. In Psalm 24:3-4, we see a list of requirements to ascend to Heaven. We must live with clean hands. This means we can bear no guilt. Without Christ, this is impossible, so we know the first requirement is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation (Acts 16:31). Only His blood can cover our transgressions (1 John 1:7). Once we are sealed in Christ, we must endeavor to keep ourselves from sin. His Holy Spirit dwells in us, and we should not desire to sully such perfection. We must keep our hearts pure and focused only on the truth of Christ.
Psalm 61:4-5 tells us we must fear God’s name if we want to live in eternity with Him. No one who disrespects the Lord will find a home with Him. Reverence for our great King should mark our lives at all times. Perhaps the most comprehensive list of attributes for living a godly life found in the Old Testament is in Psalm 15:2-5.
Living a godly life requires us to live honestly and to practice righteousness (Psalm 15:2). This speaks to our character, which should be above reproach. Give no one cause to stumble on your account. Our lives should look like Jesus so we can be role models for younger believers. Live and breathe Jesus. Live every day for His glory (see “Jesus Every Day”).
Our speech should never discredit or harm (Psalm 15:3). Rather, our words should always build up others (Ephesians 4:29). I’ve often joked that sarcasm was my first language. But if our sarcasm tears down or belittles another, it has no place on our lips. Our goal is to be Christ-like, not amusing.
Life-giving words are wonderful to speak and sweet to the ear. But James reminds us if our actions don’t follow, then our words are useless (James 2:16). We should not only seek to build up others but bandage their wounds and care for their needs (Matthew 25:31-36; Luke 10:25-37). Be generous with your time and resources. In both words and actions, we should always seek the good of others, friends and strangers alike.
Our relationships matter. If you are intent on living a godly life, be careful who you include in your inner circle (Psalm 15:4). Don’t hang out with those who reject Christ. Love them, but don’t keep them close. Instead, surround yourself with those who love Christ. Hate what God hates, and love what He loves (Psalm 139:21). As Pastor Tom Buck says, “Choose your friends as an extension of your relationship with God.”
Living a godly life requires personal integrity. Do what you say you will do, even if you no longer want to do it. Keep your word even if it will cost you your reputation, your money, or a promotion (Psalm 15:4). If Christians cannot live with integrity, then who can?
David wraps up his list by telling us how we handle money shows if we are serious about living a godly life. If we are, we will use the money God entrusts to us to help others, not just to get ahead. We must never use our money to take advantage of others, but to help others in their times of need (Psalm 15:5).
It’s quite a list. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we could never live a godly life. It will take His power within us to even pursue it. Recognize we cannot do this without His help. Ask Him to help you live a godly life and then strive to achieve the principles He has laid out for us in His Word.