The Christian life is a personal intimate relationship between you and Christ. This life begins in faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and can only be lived by faith.

12 Characteristics of a Godly Person

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  • 12 Characteristics of a Godly Person

    What then is true practical holiness? It is a hard question to answer. I do not mean that there is any want of Scriptural matter on the subject. But I fear lest I should give a defective view of holiness, and not say all that ought to be said; or lest I should say things about it that ought not to be said, and so do harm. Let me, however, try to draw a picture of holiness, that we may see it clearly before the eyes of our minds. Only let it never be forgotten, when I have said all, that my account is but a poor imperfect outline at the best.1.) Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment—hating what He hates—loving what He loves—and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.

    2.) A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment. He will have a decided bent of mind toward God, a hearty desire to do His will—a greater fear of displeasing Him than of displeasing the world, and a love to all His ways. He will feel what Paul felt when he said,”I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. vii. 22), and what David felt when he said, “I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way.” (Psalm cxix. 128.)

    3.) A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labour to have the mind that was in Him, and to be “conformed to His image.” (Rom. viii. 29.) It will be his aim to bear with and forgive others, even as Christ forgave us—to be unselfish, even as Christ pleased not Himself—to walk in love, even as Christ loved us—to be lowly-minded and humble, even as Christ made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself. He will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth—that He came not to do His own will—that it was His meat and drink to do His Father’s will—that He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others—that He was meek and patient under undeserved insults—that He thought more of godly poor men than of kings—that He was full of love and compassion to sinners—that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin—that He sought not the praise of men, when He might have had it—that He went about doing good—that He was separate from worldly people—that He continued instant in prayer—that He would not let even His nearest relations stand in His way when God’s work was to be done. These things a holy man will try to remember. By them he will endeavour to shape his course in life. He will lay to heart the saying of John, “He that saith he abideth in Christ ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (1 John ii. 6); and the saying of Peter, that “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps.” (1 Peter ii. 21.) Happy is he who has learned to make Christ his “all,” both for salvation and example! Much time would be saved, and much sin prevented, if men would oftener ask themselves the question, “What would Christ have said and done, if He were in my place?”

    4.) A holy man will follow after meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much, forbear much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on his rights. We see a bright example of this in the behaviour of David when Shimei cursed him—and of Moses when Aaron and Miriam spake against him. (2 Sam. xvi. 10; Num. xii. 3.)

    5.) A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial. He will labour to mortify the desires of his body—to crucify his flesh with his affections and lusts—to curb his passions—to restrain his carnal inclinations, lest at any time they break loose. Oh, what a word is that of the Lord Jesus to the Apostles, “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life” (Luke xxi. 34); and that of the Apostle Paul, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor. ix. 27.)

    6.) A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness. He will endeavour to observe the golden rule of doing as he would have men do to him, and speaking as he would have men speak to him. He will be full of affection towards his brethren—towards their bodies, their property, their characters, their feelings, their souls. “He that loveth another,” says Paul, “hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom. xiii. 8.) He will abhor all lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty, and unfair dealing, even in the least things. The shekel and cubit of the sanctuary were larger than those in common use. He will strive to adorn his religion by all his outward demeanour, and to make it lovely and beautiful in the eyes of all around him. Alas, what condemning words are the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and the Sermon on the Mount, when laid alongside the conduct of many professing Christians!

    7.) A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others. He will not stand all the day idle. He will not be content with doing no harm—he will try to do good. He will strive to be useful in his day and generation, and to lessen the spiritual wants and misery around him, as far as he can. Such was Dorcas, “full of good works and almsdeeds, which she did,”—not merely purposed and talked about, but did. Such an one was Paul: “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you,” he says, “though the more abundantly I love you the less I be loved.” (Acts ix. 36; 2 Cor. xii. 15.)

    8.) A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it. He knows his own heart is like tinder, and will diligently keep clear of the sparks of temptation. Who shall dare to talk of strength when David can fall? There is many a hint to be gleaned from the ceremonial law. Under it the man who only touched a bone, or a dead body, or a grave, or a diseased person, became at once unclean in the sight of God. And these things were emblems and figures. Few Christians are ever too watchful and too particular about this point.

    9.) A holy man will follow after the fear of God. I do not mean the fear of a slave, who only works because he is afraid of punishment, and would be idle if he did not dread discovery. I mean rather the fear of a child, who wishes to live and move as if he was always before his father s face, because he loves him. What a noble example Nehemiah gives us of this! When he became Governor at Jerusalem he might have been chargeable to the Jews and required of them money for his support. The former Governors had done so. There was none to blame him if he did. But he says, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” (Nehem. v. 15.)

    10.) A holy man will follow after humility. He will desire, in lowliness of mind, to esteem all others better than himself. He will see more evil in his own heart than in any other in the world. He will understand something of Abraham’s feeling, when he says, “I am dust and ashes;”—and Jacob’s, when he says, “I am less than the least of all Thy mercies;”—and Job’s, when he says, “I am vile;”—and Paul’s, when he says, “I am chief of sinners.” Holy Bradford, that faithful martyr of Christ, would sometimes finish his letters with these words, “A most miserable sinner, John Bradford.” Good old Mr. Grimshaw’s last words, when he lay on his death-bed, were these, “Here goes an unprofitable servant.”

    11.) A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life. He will try, not merely to fill his place as well as others who take no thought for their souls, but even better, because he has higher motives, and more help than they. Those words of Paul should never be forgotten, “Whatever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord,”—“Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” (Col. iii. 23; Rom. xii. 11.) Holy persons should aim at doing everything well, and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do anything ill if they can help it. Like Daniel, they should seek to give no “occasion” against themselves, except “concerning the law of their God.” (Dan. vi. 5.) They should strive to be good husbands and good wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants, good neighbours, good friends, good subjects, good in private and good in public, good in the place of business and good by their firesides. Holiness is worth little indeed, if it does not bear this kind of fruit. The Lord Jesus puts a searching question to His people, when He says, “What do ye more than others?” (Matt. v. 47.)

    12.) Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual mindedness. He will endeavour to set his affections entirely on things above, and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not neglect the business of the life that now is; but the first place in his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. He will aim to live like one whose treasure is in heaven, and to pass through this world like a stranger and pilgrim travelling to his home. To commune with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His people—these things will be the holy man’s chiefest enjoyments. He will value every thing and place and company, just in proportion as it draws him nearer to God. He will enter into something of David’s feeling, when he says, “My soul followeth hard after Thee.” “Thou art my portion.” (Psalm lxiii. 8; cxix. 57.)

    Such is the outline of holiness which I venture to sketch out. Such is the character which those who are called “holy” follow after. Such are the main features of a holy man.– J.C. Ryle

  • #2
    This holy man sounds like a complete basket case. Life is for living, which is why we were gifted it. We should not let puritan ideas about what constitutes godliness get in the way of that.

    Best wishes, 2RM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
      This holy man sounds like a complete basket case. Life is for living, which is why we were gifted it. We should not let puritan ideas about what constitutes godliness get in the way of that.

      Best wishes, 2RM.
      Are you Christian, 2RM? This entire Christian Ministry category and resulting sub-forums say for Christians only. Please answer.

      God bless,
      William
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      • #4
        Yes, I'm a Christian. Are you?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
          This holy man sounds like a complete basket case. Life is for living, which is why we were gifted it. We should not let puritan ideas about what constitutes godliness get in the way of that.
          There is some truth the Puritans were kind of down on living life, such as their prohibition against celebrating the birth of Jesus. But, what in the above list prohibits one from throwing a big Christmas party, complete with eggnog? Follow self-denial? Let's not be crass. Being self-destructive, hedonistic, and cruel is not living life.
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          • #6
            Uh huh. But this holy man is such a paragon of virtuous goodness that he really is quite sickening. I bet he was a trusted, responsible prefect at school. Yuk! Give him some vices, some edge, some individual character, and I might like him more. As he is, he's the kind of person that puts me quite off the idea of going to heaven, and ending up in his company, and people similar to him.

            Best wishes, 2RM.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
              Uh huh. But this holy man is such a paragon of virtuous goodness that he really is quite sickening. I bet he was a trusted, responsible prefect at school. Yuk! Give him some vices, some edge, some individual character, and I might like him more. As he is, he's the kind of person that puts me quite off the idea of going to heaven, and ending up in his company, and people similar to him.

              Best wishes, 2RM.
              Unbelievable.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
                Uh huh. But this holy man is such a paragon of virtuous goodness that he really is quite sickening. I bet he was a trusted, responsible prefect at school. Yuk! Give him some vices, some edge, some individual character, and I might like him more. As he is, he's the kind of person that puts me quite off the idea of going to heaven, and ending up in his company, and people similar to him.

                Best wishes, 2RM.

                The goal of a Christian is to be perfect, to be free of vice. Anyone who can't aim this high is not a follower of Christ. Vices are vices precisely because they're stupid, destructive, or cruel. But, maybe you're attracted to stupid, no me. I've never found any vice in anyone make that person more likable to me. Maybe you could give me a specific example of a vice you like to see in your friends?



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                • #9
                  Well, a devil-may-care streak of rebelliousness would be top of my list. A tendency not to suffer fools, gladly, would probably come next. After that, the realisation that even moderation should be pursued in moderation. How's that for starters?

                  Best wishes, 2RM.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
                    Well, a devil-may-care streak of rebelliousness would be top of my list. A tendency not to suffer fools, gladly, would probably come next. After that, the realisation that even moderation should be pursued in moderation. How's that for starters?

                    Best wishes, 2RM.
                    devil-may-care

                    [FONT=Arial][SIZE=13px]adj 1. careless or reckless; happy-go-lucky: a devil-may-care attitude.[/SIZE][/FONT]




                    Yeah, that's so cool, an idiot who wraps his car around a tree through careless and reckless driving is the top if your list of traits you want in a friend. And, I'm afraid your second example is the last trait you want to see in others.

                    Or, maybe you mean happy-go-lucky. Gotta go back to the dictionary for the meaning of that expression:
                    trusting cheerfully to luck; happily unworried or unconcerned. Ironically, that's exactly what Jesus taught (except trusting God, not luck). I don't know which of those items in the first post you think contradict trusting God and not worrying.

                    Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

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                    • #11
                      OK, I am actually all for virtue, mostly. I argue on forums like this for more of it, especially in other people! Nevertheless, I think it possible to be just too cloyingly perfect. So, I would add a lucky number 13th characteristic to the twelve listed, and that would be some degree of imperfection, to make life interesting. There is a reason why newspapers are full of bad news, and that reason is because good news doesn't generally generate readership sales. Virtue is dull and boring, even if mostly desirable. Similarly, like seasoning in the cooking, a small flaw makes for an interesting character.

                      Best wishes, 2RM.
                      Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 07-06-2015, 07:06 AM.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
                        Uh huh. But this holy man is such a paragon of virtuous goodness that he really is quite sickening. I bet he was a trusted, responsible prefect at school. Yuk! Give him some vices, some edge, some individual character, and I might like him more. As he is, he's the kind of person that puts me quite off the idea of going to heaven, and ending up in his company, and people similar to him.

                        Best wishes, 2RM.
                        "...of virtuous goodness..."? Not at all! The Author uses words such as "Strives" and "Endeavors." A holy man of God "struggles" in his walk towards "the goal." He "strains" forward towards the prize. The difference between a Holy man of God and not a holy man of God is his keen awareness of his remaining sin, and his desire for holiness. Paul makes it clear just as the author J C Ryle does, that one cannot attain in this life, perfection, but if he has no desire towards holiness, he or she is no new creature in Christ.

                        12 "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained." Philippians 3:12-14

                        Strong's Concordance
                        agónizomai: to contend for a prize, struggle
                        Original Word: ἀγωνίζομαι
                        Part of Speech: Verb
                        Transliteration: agónizomai
                        Phonetic Spelling: (ag-o-nid'-zom-ahee)
                        Short Definition: I strive, contend
                        Definition: I am struggling, striving (as in an athletic contest or warfare); I contend, as with an adversary.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
                          OK, I am actually all for virtue, mostly. I argue on forums like this for more of it, especially in other people! Nevertheless, I think it possible to be just too cloyingly perfect. So, I would add a lucky number 13th characteristic to the twelve listed, and that would be some degree of imperfection, to make life interesting. There is a reason why newspapers are full of bad news, and that reason is because good news doesn't generally generate readership sales. Virtue is dull and boring, even if mostly desirable. Similarly, like seasoning in the cooking, a small flaw makes for an interesting character.
                          I'll give you the benefit if the doubt and assume that you're confusing virtue with social awkwardness, timidity, sincere but immature faith, or the effeminacy taught by many churches. Or, maybe I'm naive and you're simply a non-Christian sadist.

                          There's actually lots of good news in the newspaper (grandpa). Try the tech section or the human interest section. Do you want to be the one in the news for something bad? Well, go out and wrap your car around a tree, in car full of manure, while naked, in a busy part of town.
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                          • #14
                            Ha! I have absolutely no interest in achieving my Warhol allotted fifteen minutes of fame. Just as it is wise to avoid lawyers, I think it wise to avoid journalists. I'm quite content to be perfectly virtuous, and completely dull, so long as those I associate with aren't. Otherwise, I might have to consider some vice for myself. Now, would that be pride, or arrogance, or rebelliousness, or just the imperious desire to rule the world, as I see fit...

                            Best wishes, 2RM.
                            Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 07-06-2015, 12:18 PM.
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