“Godly Devotion Is Beneficial for All Things”
THE Bible shows that godly devotion or godliness is rewarding. It not only holds out the hope of eternal salvation, but brings benefits even now. As the Christian apostle Paul says: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” Yes, godly devotion brings with it rewards even at the present time, and not only those of a spiritual nature but also those of a physical kind.—1 Tim. 4:8.
What is meant by “godly devotion”? The Greek word that the apostle Paul here used is variously rendered “godliness,” “spirituality,” “piety,” “religion,” “spiritual fitness,” “holiness,” “spiritual exercise” as well as “godly devotion.” Its literal meaning is ‘being considerate of sacred things.’
Why is godly devotion beneficial now? For one thing, because it inculcates morality, the control of one’s passions, and so protects one from all the ills, emotional, mental and physical, that so often result from loose conduct. (Prov. 7:22, 23; 23:29-32) It is beneficial now in that it helps one to be content, self-sufficient. It guards one against the snare of the love of money that can cause so much harm, just as we are warned: “The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Tim. 6:10.
Then, again, godly devotion is beneficial now in that it brings with it the spirit of God, which, the Bible explains, produces “soundness of mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) For example, a few years ago a Christian witness of Jehovah preaching the good news of God’s kingdom from house to house happened to meet a man who had been a patient in a mental institution. This man had been suffering for ten years from paranoid schizophrenia and his doctors told him that there was no hope of a cure for him. He was very unclean and unkempt in his personal appearance and was living outside the institution only because he was willing to take the required medication, which consisted of thirty-three pills each day.
Although this man at first proved to be very trying, he evidently was sincere, and so the Christian minister kept making return visits. He conducted a regular Bible study with the man, by means of which he learned about God’s righteous requirements and the wonderful hope of the blessings to come to mankind under God’s kingdom. Gradually this patient took an interest in his personal appearance. Then he quit smoking, and after eight months he was so improved in his condition that he was able to get along without any drugs. At the end of a year he was taken off the doctor’s list, discharged as cured.
Four years have passed since the Christian minister going from house to house first called on this man, and today he is still enjoying good health and has a good job. More than that, he is very active in the Christian ministry, bringing to others the comforting good news about Jehovah God’s kingdom that did so much for him. What accounted for this change in a man who after ten years of medical treatment had been pronounced incurable by his physicians? Godly devotion or ‘consideration of sacred things.’ He is proving true the promise of Jehovah God: “Abundant peace belongs to those loving your law, and for them there is no stumbling block.”—Ps. 119:165.
Godly devotion is also beneficial now in that it brings hope into the life of one who has suddenly lost a loved one. It helps to heal the wounds of grief and gives one something to live for, even though one suffers a sudden and tragic loss. Thus recently at a Christian missionary school a youthful husband died suddenly of a heart attack in the middle of the night. Shocking as this tragic blow was to his young wife, who was a missionary student along with him, she met that blow calmly. She resolved to continue her missionary training even though now facing the prospect of going to her missionary assignment, not as a married woman with a husband on whom to depend, but as a single woman.
What a contrast from some of the experiences one reads about in the newspapers! For example, a “skydiver,” a parachutist, whose wife had been killed when her parachute failed to open, committed suicide by jumping out of a plane at 3,200 feet after first making certain that his parachute would not open up. Also, there was a schoolteacher whose husband had drowned when a boat in which they were riding overturned due to a storm. She slipped out of her life jacket to join him in death. “If Tom is gone, I want to go too,” were her last words. Such grief often takes its toll even though there be no violent attempts at self-destruction. According to a recent issue of the British Medical Journal, the death rate of those who have lost a loved one suddenly in death is five times that of the average.
Here we have it: Godly devotion gives one something to live for, even when a close relative may die suddenly. This is because one’s interests are not centered around just one’s own family. More than that, godly devotion gives one faith in the resurrection, in the hope of everlasting life on a paradise earth, in the hope of seeing one’s loved ones again right here upon the earth in God’s due time. Godly devotion, or giving consideration to sacred things, moves one to find time for bringing honor to one’s Creator, Jehovah God, and to show love for one’s neighbor as for oneself. At the same time it prepares the Christian for any eventuality in that it recognizes how death entered into the world and why God has permitted it, together with wickedness, for so long. But more than that, it provides the certain hope that Jehovah God will bring an end to all sorrow, crying, pain and death.—Rev. 21:4.
Truly, godly devotion, or consideration for sacred things, means not only eternal salvation, life in the system of things to come, but many benefits now, physically, mentally, emotionally as well as spiritually.
“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.”—2 Pet. 3:11, 12.