Don’t Lose Yourself: Return to the Values of Godly Living

Preached on June 2, 2024

Godly living has been lost on this generation and because of that, we are on steady decline with our moral and ethical values. Join Pastor McCrary for this week’s message as he focuses on returning to godly living.

Introduction

The generation of our parents, grandparents, and greats had a better sense of love and community than we do today. Why is that? I believe we have lost the values and the principles which they lived by. They believed in God and their values were set by the Lord. To the growing generation of this day, there is a need for us to return to the values of godly living. 

Remaining Upright

The proverb tells us that righteousness guards those whose way is blameless. In other words, righteousness keeps the blameless upright against wickedness. Whereas the sinner has no protection against wickedness and is overtaken by it.  The sinner will be found guilty of their wickedness to which we know their end is eternal condemnation. 

Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner.

KEY VERSE – PROVERBS 13:6 NKJV

So, our goal should be to remain blameless and upright on this journey. Paul wrote that the blameless are those who obey God without complaining and dispute (Phil. 2:14-15).  In other words, the blameless strive to live by faith sincerely.  Are you living in a way that will be blameless in the eyes of God?

Sadly, many are being overtaken by wickedness and falling to sin.  We are an adulterous generation that is on the verge of becoming a lost generation with how far we have strayed from the Lord.  So, what must we do to correct our way in order to remain upright and not overtaken by wickedness?

As we saw in my first sermon of this series, we must first recognize the sign given by God and follow it.  God’s sign is His only begotten who stood as proof of God and His promise.  After committing ourselves to following Christ, Peter tells us there is more work to do to remain upright.

In 2 Peter 1:5, Peter wrote that with all diligence we must first add to our faith virtue.  What is virtue?  We define virtue as a particular moral excellence; a standard of right, valor, merit, courage, and integrity (honesty). Virtue essentially speaks of our mindset – what we are mindful of and what guides our actions. 

The moral and ethical standards of believers are set by God.  This means that the virtue of believers should be of the highest.  There are three virtues that should be our guides on this journey.  What are they?  Paul summed the virtues of the believer best when he spoke to the Corinthians about faith, hope, and love/charity (1 Cor. 13:13).

Faith, hope, and love is what you need in order to remain upright and not overcome by wickedness.  The question you must answer today is whether or not faith, hope, and love have rule over you?  Are you living by faith, hope, and love? Are you living according to these Christlike values?  

Overthrown Moral and Ethical Values

I am once again concerned about this generation because this generation is on steady decline when it comes to living by faith, love, and hope.  People of honesty and integrity are seemingly becoming harder and harder to come by.     

Honestly, as I look around, I have to be honest, I don’t know if today’s generation even has a moral compass.  I feel like the values of faith, hope, and love are forgotten.  Frankly, I believe the way of godly living is becoming more a thing of the past as mankind is being overtaken by wickedness.

Feeding off of violence

So, how is today’s generation losing its moral compass?  Proverbs 13 sheds some light on what our moral compass should be but also points out some harsh truths.

Proverbs 13:2 states that a man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.  The notion of this proverb speaks about the virtue of love.  You see, with a cross reference of Proverbs 10:11, we are told that the mouth of the righteous is a well of life- our words uplift others from a place of love.  Whereas, violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

Today’s generation is a generation that feeds off of violence rather than love.  To be clear, violence doesn’t just speak of physical violence.  Many people are hurt and harmed psychologically and emotionally which can all bring harm to the soul.  

Today’s generation is a generation that moves out of anger and bitterness.  You see, rather than feeding hope to others, we feed doubt, hatred, and fear to others.  Many people today suffer from physical, psychological and emotional abuse from those who have lost their way.

What’s truly sad about this is that the abused are crying out about their suffering but only a few care. For the most part, their cries receive a shrug of the shoulders and are ignored.  Why is that?  Because we have grown numb to the suffering of others. We have grown to accept that people will hurt and suffer and it’s not a big deal if it doesn’t hurt us.

Feeding off of lies and greed

How are we losing our moral compass?  Proverbs 13:3 states that one who is careful about their words preserves their life.  Let’s understand that the notion of this proverb speaks about integrity.  

Integrity is most definitely lost on this generation. The rest of Proverbs 13:3 speaks to this generation as it opens wide its lips with lies, tales, gossip, and conspiracies which lead to destruction. Our moral compass was lost the day we fell in love with lies, gossip, and conspiracy rather than truth.

How are we losing our moral compass?   Proverbs 13:7 states that there are those who pretend to be rich but have nothing while the rich act poor but are filled with greed. 

As Paul wrote to Timothy, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10).” Our moral compass was lost the day man began to value money and wealth over life. Jesus warned against covetousness and greed when He said that those who lay up treasure only for themselves aren’t rich toward God (Luke 12:21).

Losing Our Soul for the World

We are losing our moral compass and for what? For the love of violence, lies, gossip, conspiracies, and pretend wealth? That is all that has been gained in the world for the giving up of our soul! Jesus asked, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36)?” In the end, there has been no growth in the soul of man as we have gained little to nothing in the world.

Rather than a moral compass, we have a world filled with prideful and egotistical maniacs. Proverbs 13:10 states that by pride comes nothing but strife. Proverbs 13:11 states that wealth gained by dishonesty is wealth that will be diminished.

Just look at the world today. Look at all the strife that fills the world today all because one must have more than the other and we don’t care about each other. Rather than talking to one another, we talk at each other. Rather than caring about what each other goes through, as a whole, we couldn’t care less about our neighbor. With each generation that passes by, rather than improvement we continue to fall backwards.

I honestly frown when I think about today’s growing generation in comparison to the generations of my parents, grandparents, and greats. You see, we are missing something that they actually understood very well.  They lived with a mindset geared towards the Lord, and therefore they believed in godly living. 

Whether they fully understood His word or not, they believed in doing right by each other.  This very basic principle set their value of loving, honoring, and respecting others.  Godly living was the pillar of strength and power that helped them overcome and to endure.

How to Add Virtue to Faith

Godly living needs to be a pillar of power and strength in the world today.  So, how does today’s generation make a return to godly living so that we aren’t overcome by wickedness?

First step — Get serious about faith

The first step to returning to godly living is told to us by Peter in 2 Peter 1:5. Again, Peter called on us believers to add virtue to our faith. With further examination of that verse, we will notice Peter said that we must add virtue with all diligence. In other words, there should be no breaks taken in adding virtue to your faith.

Let’s be clear: the life of every believer is one to be lived with a serious mindset for faith and growth in faith. Sadly, many believers view faith as an activity to participate in only on Sundays.  If you view faith as a once a week activity then you’re practicing religion and not faith!  To remain upright with godly living, we must be serious in every aspect of our faith.  

We should be serious in our prayer life.  We should be serious in our studying of the word.  We should be serious when it comes to doing right by each other.  You see, one who is serious about their faith is one that will always grow and mature as a person.  Those who are serious in their faith is one that will be ready to endure their afflictions, trials, tribulations, and the enemy.

Second step — Obey God’s instructions

The second step to returning to godly living is giving to us In Proverbs 13:1.  One is encouraged to be like a wise son who heeds his father’s instructions rather than a scoffer.  Scoffers are those that mock or show contempt (hatred and hostility).  Scoffing at the Lord’s instructions is what keeps us from reaching the full potential of our blessing.

In the past, the children of Israel scoffed at the law given to them by the Lord. Many of them were either conquered and destroyed, or live under their oppressors. Many of them missed out on the promise of salvation which is now promised for and given to all who believe (Rom. 11:11).

Today, we must obey God’s instructions with all diligence. In 1 Peter 1:14, Peter wrote that as “obedient children” we must not conform ourselves to former lusts. As Paul put it, the reason why we should not conform to those lusts is because we have been transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2). When we remain obedient to God’s instructions of godly living, then we prove what is the perfect will of the Lord.

In obedience to godly living, scripture repeatedly encourages the faithful believer to abhor, despise, and hate what is wicked with all malice! Even in my key verse for today’s message, you will remember the proverb said that the one who is righteous hates lying!

Third step – Be sober-minded

For the third step in adding virtue to our faith lets remain in 1 Peter 1:13-16. Peter tells the believer to gird up the loins of their mind and be sober-minded (1 Pet. 1:13).  In this statement, Peter was encouraging believers to get ready for the revelation of Christ. 

We live in an age where Jesus said that the kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:14-15).  Sadly, no matter how much this gets preached, this is a generation that ignores this word.  Rather than getting prepared to stand before the Lord, this generation lives as if they will never face judgment from their Creator.

To be sober-minded means that one is present and fully aware of the day.  Godly living requires us to be fully aware of sinful living rather than ignoring it.  If we live in awareness that we will stand before God, then we would fear His judgment and live in obedience.  

So, with a sober mind, we don’t feed off of violence, we feed off of love.  Rather than feeding off of lies, we feed off the truth.  Rather than turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, one with a sober mind, is as the Good Samaritan.  Rather than being consumed by selfishness and greed, the one with a sober mind, is one that is generous in love. 

The Blessing of Godly Living

In the past, when people cried out for love and equality – godly living – scoffers mocked the idea of love and equality.  The scoffer mocked the idea of ever loving and respecting those who are different.  Scoffers have set generations back to this day and they still seek to do that for future generations. 

Yet, the Lord shows us that there is strength and power in godly living.  So, why are we, as a community, becoming scoffers?  By following these steps of adding virtue to our faith we can return and keep a high moral compass that uplifts.  When we find our moral compass we can overcome the scoffer and all wickedness together as a community.  

Do you see the blessing of returning back to the way of godly living?  As Peter said in 1 Peter 1:15, our goal is to be holy just as He who called us is holy.  Is it too much to ask for us to commit ourselves to godly living?  To today’s generation, I call on us to return to those forgotten values and commit our way to godly living.

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