Meaning Of Ungodliness And How It Steals Your Joy

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You might be thinking, “I am a Christian. Doesn’t that make me Godly? What is the meaning of ungodliness?”

Many people who attend church, work with the children’s ministry, and give money for Christian work are not necessarily Godly. Their life is compartmentalized with little thought about God or what he wants Monday through Friday.

The meaning of ungodliness for Christians

What makes a person ungodly?

I am one of those Christians who attends church, works with the children’s ministry, and gives money for Christian work. I thought I was doing quite well.

When the pastor would talk about how we sin every day, I listened, but quite frankly thought, “I don’t steal, murder, commit adultery, or all those sins listed in the Bible.”

My idea of ungodliness had to do with actions, what I did or did not do.

I didn’t realize until later in life that ungodliness is an attitude towards God and there are degrees of it on a continuum. So only a little ungodliness is still the real deal, and still a sin.

Photo of a continuum of having God in our thoughts from never to always. It helps define the meaning of ungodliness.
How often is God in my thoughts? Never? Sometimes? Or Always

The meaning of ungodliness is living with little or no thought of God. (1) It is a lack of respect to one degree or another. You give some of your life to Him, but not all of it.

What does the meaning of ungodliness look like?

There are many things we do in life that are not sinful.

The problem comes when God is not included in those activities. As Christians, we are not totally ungodly, but we also are not completely Godly. Only Jesus was.

We are either self-focused or God-focused.

So what is an example of being ungodly? Let’s take a look and see how we measure up.

The meaning of ungodliness when we make plans

Most people when they get out of bed in the morning have things they want to do, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, the Bible talks about planning and the meaning of ungodliness.

 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ ” James 4:13-15 ESV

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 ESV

We need to ask ourselves, “How often do I include God in my plans? Would I be upset if my plans had to change?”

I have to admit that my to-do list is often driven by pressures and not because I have asked God to be a part of what I am doing. What if I get sick? None of it would get done.

It is God who makes it possible for me to do anything and everything.

Photo of a continuum from never acknowledging my dependence on God to always doing it. It is another gauge in the meaning of ungodliness in the Christian's life.
How often do I acknowledge my dependence on God? Or do I take credit for all I do?

“In Him we live and move and have our being …” Acts 17:28 ESV

Meaning of ungodliness when we pray

Praying is a lifeline to our Spiritual survival. But even in that exercise, we can be ungodly. We often turn it into a shopping list of things we want God to get for us or change. Our prayers are “human-centered and not God-centered.” (2)

What if we were to stop and acknowledge that God has loftier goals for life than just being our magic genie?

What if we were to ask that God’s will be done and that He would receive glory through how things work out?

Jesus was the perfect example. In His flesh, He did not want to go to the cross. It would be the most unpleasant and painful experience anyone could go through.

Despite how awful it would be, Jesus prayed,

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 ESV

Photo of a continuum from never asking for God's will and always asking it. It is another way to gauge the meaning of ungodliness in the Christians life.
How often do I pray for God’s will
and that He will receive glory from my circumstances?

Here on earth, anything that we want to have changed pales in comparison to what Jesus went through.

Meaning of ungodliness in my daily living

We often are not much different from non-Christians in how we live.

  • Many grumble and complain about getting up on Monday to start another work week.
  • Many do only what is required to get paid for their work.
  • Many begrudge having to do unpleasant tasks at home
  • We often don’t pray about the day ahead of us and ask that God will be glorified in our attitudes, actions, and relationships.

Why is this? What are God’s instructions regarding how we live day by day?

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men … ” Colossians 3:23 ESV

Would our attitude be different if Jesus was sitting in the boss’s office? In reality, He is. God has given us the job as well as the health and abilities to do it.

As a Christian, everything we do should be for God, not ourselves. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

” … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV

Photo of a continuum from never living for the glory of God to always doing it. It is another gauge in the meaning of ungodliness in the Christian's life.

When we don’t live this way, the name of God is degraded before non-Christians.

Meaning of ungodliness in my relationship with God

Our connection with God is where we need to start in becoming more Godly. Everything else will fall into place when we long to have a better, closer, more meaningful relationship with Him.

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God … ” Psalm 42:1-2 ESV

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 ESV

Photo of a continuum from no desire for an intimate relationship with God to a total craving for it.  It is another gauge in the meaning of ungodliness in the Christian.

We each need to ask ourselves, “Do I long for a deep and more meaningful connection with God? Am I hungry and thirsty for Him?”

The first and greatest commandment is that we love God with our total being. When we don’t do it, that is the meaning of ungodliness. (Mark 12:30-31)

How ungodliness steals a Christian’s joy

It is a simple concept. The more ungodly we are the less joy we will have. Scripture says:

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.: Psalm 16:11 ESV

Though simple, we all have room for growth. We all miss the mark and that is the meaning of ungodliness.

But be encouraged. We can get closer to God by:

  • Making plans while acknowledging our dependence on God
  • Being God-centered and not totally human-centered in our prayers
  • Living every day for the glory of God
  • Becoming deeply connected to God through a relationship with Jesus

If you don’t know Jesus, you probably have questions. The people at Chat About Jesus have answers. You can text, call, or chat with them online any time of the day or night.

God does not expect perfection. He knows we are not capable of that. Only Jesus was. But He does expect us to grow through the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. (Psalm 13:14, 2 Peter 3:18)

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3 thoughts on “Meaning Of Ungodliness And How It Steals Your Joy”

    • What a fabulous question to ask! Expressing it is one step in the right direction. We know that it is God’s will for us to desire Him, so praying that prayer to Him is something He will honor. But truthfully, in our own strength, we can not do this on our own. So ask God for it. And spend time letting Him talk to you through the Bible. Since I don’t know your spiritual journey up to this point, our desire for God begins with a relationship with Jesus. Another article here that may help you is “How to fall in love with Jesus over and over again.” Just type in the search bar “fall in love with Jesus” to find it. God’s Word, the Bible is powerful so don’t underestimate what it will do for you. If you don’t know where to start reading, start with the book of John. I am praying for you right now.

      • Thank you for your quick reply! What you explained helps a lot. I will look for the article you recommended. I felt like there was something more I should be doing; I keep trying and failing at fasting and I don’t know any other Christians so I really appreciate you taking the time to reply and to pray! Your website is very helpful <3


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