Posted by: William | January 26, 2008

Godly Copycat

Do I want to see my generation love the Lord and live godly lives? Then I would be wise to live a godly life. This is the topic of conversation in the beginning of Thomas Watson’s The Great Gain of Godliness. I find that although I have godly compassion for the church and a desire to see her reformed and changed, perhaps to an earlier beauty, I have quite an ungodly method for seeing it come about. Judgment and an unmerciful attitude are among my largest weapons. This is not how it should be.

The times in my life where I have lain at the bottom of the barrel, completely absorbed in sin and a kind of detachment from God, it is a great blessing when I’m allowed the company of a godly believer. It almost never fails to convict and encourage and inspire. Although it’s met usually on the front end with pride, the backend is experiencing a great working from the Holy Spirit wishing to pull me from my darkened state.

Thomas Watson writes:

“To be good in a profligate age does much to animate weak beginners; it strengthens feeble knees (Isa. 35:3) and shores up those temples of the Holy Spirit which are ready to fall. One man’s zeal is a burning torch for others to light at. How did the constancy of the martyrs inflame the love of many to the truth! Though only Christ’s blood saves, yet the blood of the martyrs may strengthen. St Paul’s prison chain made converts in Nero’s court, two of whom were afterwards martyrs, as history relates.”

I feel convinced in saying that if we wish to see a generation in this church seek hard after the Lord, we will seek hard after the Lord. Yes, although in the face of true Spirit inspired zeal, people’s artificial faiths in Christ will fail them, many will be strengthened to live as they should.

Jesus, I pray that you would strengthen our knees. Give me and your church the strength to stand holy according to you grace, even in the midst cultural and religious laxity. Jesus, I pray that we would focus most pertinently on our own holiness and walk with you. If it is your will, I pray that our zeal would create true zeal in others. Jesus, I pray that where you will, inspire men to be godly and zealous mouthpieces calling your church to passionate devotion to you, for your glory.



  1. Bill, I thank you for this post. This year my number one prayer and prayer request has been personal holiness, knowing that a universal reformation of the church becoming holy always starts with your self. (That is, it starts with Gods changing grace in one’s personal life.) I also pray and long for holiness. I want so much to see progress in my sanctification. I thirst for strength when it comes to my war with indwelling sin that I may overcome it and mortify my flesh, standing strong in Christ. Hope you gain much from Thomas Watson….keep us updated with your discoveries.

  2. For what is worth, been-there, done-that. Not too proud of my past pride. Made some Methodists pretty mad at me along the way. It is cool to see you arrive here in your walk so soon in your life.

    The church is a whore, but she’s my mother.
    St. Augustine

    You can read an excerpt from Tony Campolo’s book discussing this umm… famous quote here.

    Through my walk, I’ve discovered that finding sin in each others lives is easy but pretty much pointless. Finding and encouraging glimpses of the divine however, grows community.

  3. This is very tricky ground IMO; I believe for many in the body the pursuit of personal holiness is actually sinful in and of itself. Let me try to briefly explain:

    Much of Jesus’ teaching is focused on self-sacrifice, and self-denial – rather we are to focus on meeting the needs of others. If we are focused on some form of personal holiness our attention is on ourselves. If we perform our good works so that we can gain or maintain our standing in the Kingdom – our motivation is selfish and therfore our efforts are sinful. (I’ll blog more on this rather than clog your page…)

    As for the modeling of Christ, I have never met a believer that told me the reason they decided to become a follower is because they knew someone that they wanted to emulate – at least from the perspective of “so and so was squeaky clean, never said a bad word, never touched a drink or went to an “R” movie, and always voted Republican.” It’s like “we don’t drink, dance, smoke, or chew – or go with girls who do.” (an old college mantra).

    There are two distinctions here I think: one is how you “look”/”appear”/”behave” as a witness to un- or pre-believers, and the second is how you do so as part of discipling other believers.

    At some level this is, of course, semantic in nature. I would just like to save other, younger believers from years of wasted effort in trying to achieve some acceptable level of personal holiness. I spent those years “pursuing” holiness; in a real sense I was trying to “act” holy, or “look” holy.

    I found a transcendent level of freedom when I learned that God expects me to BE holy and I was able to relax in the realization that any measure of holiness I have is completely dependent on the work of the Christ and not on any amount of effort – good or bad – that I put forth.


  4. […] January 28, 2008 by b4dguy [This is a longer comment on William Petruzzo’s blog about personal holiness entitled “Godly Copycat.”] […]

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