It spoke to me on a couple of different levels. The word "deny" jumped out at me in a way it never has before. When I've read this verse before and seen "deny yourselves of all ungodliness" I thought no more of it than simply avoiding doing ungodly things. I'm a pretty straight arrow so it hasn't been a big problem.
|image via victoriakirst.com|
If the goal is to be perfected in Christ (and that is my greatest personal goal), then giving up the ungodly things is how to achieve it. Sometimes the things that are ungodly are the things that call to us. They are hard to give up because they can be so pleasant. The ungodly things may not seem wrong and we may even have the world around us screaming in our ears that they can't be wrong because we feel good doing them.
But when did denying ourselves become a bad thing? Put in the context of dieting, denying myself of the things that stand in the way of my goal (cookies) is the best thing to do.
The wonderful thing about denying ourselves of all ungodliness is that we receive the grace of God to make up the difference on our way to perfection. We can't do it alone. Christ suffered for us so that, after we've done our best, we can achieve the unachievable. We give up the ungodly things that hold us back from becoming like Christ and, in return, we are lifted up by Him. And His grace is sufficient for us no matter how hard we struggle with the ungodly things and no matter how far we may have fallen into them, so long as we are truly seeking to become better and deny ourselves of the things that stand between us and godliness.