Miraculous godliness


I was part of a group a few weeks ago where a wonderful, faithful, godly older pastor told us about something that had happened in his church. During an important public meeting, a man had risen to his feet and started shouting abuse at the pastor. It was a tirade full of invective and malice and hatred. How would you respond?

At the time, the man had to be politely, but firmly escorted from the building by some elders. But that’s not the amazing thing. The pastor in question proceeded to tell us that he had gone home to ponder the things the man had said. And when he stripped away the anger and personal acrimony, he was persuaded that one of the things the man had said was largely true of him, and that he needed to repent.

I was staggered by this pastor’s godliness. I know that Proverbs tells us that “the ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise” (Prov 15:31), but surely that’s just listening to your friends, right? Who in their right mind sifts the insults of their enemy to find learning?

But as impressed as I was by his godliness (and he wasn’t telling the story to impress anyone), it was walking to work the other morning that I finally saw the point with absolute clarity: it is not his godliness that I should marvel at, but the miraculously powerful, life-giving work of the Holy Spirit. Who, humanly speaking, can so set aside their personal aspirations and desire for public approval that they might grow from the rebuke of an enemy? No-one. But with God, what is impossible is made possible.

God’s Spirit has worked in this man so that what matters most to him is standing in righteousness before his Lord and maker. A more miraculous thing I cannot imagine. And the longer I live, the more miraculous it seems.

I pray that God will do such a work in me.

4 thoughts on “Miraculous godliness

  1. …and in me too!

    And thanks to our Father for enabling you to write this post. Most encouraging.


  2. As a teenager in high school, there were always rumors flying back and forth.  It is the age of “He Said, She Said” and using rumors as revenge.  I didn’t always make the right decision, but there is something I learned from going through it all.

    In rumors, there is usually some grain of truth that somehow got it all started.  Rarely did rumors come out of thin air, like a flat-out lie.  There was usually something that happened which caused the ball rolling and the rumor is stretched, twisted and manipulated into something completely different.  But if you can unravel all that, you can usually find a beginning.

    Once out of high school, I started to realize the same concept applied to fights and anger – even my own.  Somewhere beneath the rage and anger, something started this off.  There is some grain of truth to be found.  Its exceedingly difficult to do what that pastor did, picking apart the insults and rage that was being flung at him that day.  Its wonderful to see the Holy Spirit at work in all that.  It would have been too easy to respond in anger as well, especially when one is being attacked.  Its a beautiful example of Psalm 4:4, especially the latter half, in action.

  3. It’s just God’s way.  To make meaningless suffering meaningful through growth and to turn enemy action into God’s means of blessing.  Gen 50:20

  4. Hi Michael

    Just wondering if perhaps you could explain what you mean by ‘meaningless suffering’?

    thanks Di

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