October 1976

A God-Ward Attitude

Robert F. Turner

Of godliness, Vine says, piety which, characterized by a God-ward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him. Lenski says, The base of godliness is in the spirit; its great field lies in the spiritual virtues ... When the truth fails to produce godliness the truth has not entered the heart. Some day we will get around to recognizing that except for instructions in details, telling people what God wants them to do is not nearly as important as prompting them to want to do Gods bidding.

We have assumed a false premise; i.e., that our hearers are ready and anxious to obey the Lord, and all we have to do is tell them of the divine commands. We tell them, and make it very clear — and just cant understand why they do not obey. But failure to do Gods bidding, even failure to know what God wants done, is, in our land of Bibles and education, more lack of interest and concern than lack of knowledge. Even sincere truth seekers may make no distinction in the Bible and some far-East Gurus pronouncement. It is becoming increasingly important that we delve more fully into the essence of Christianity, and sell its basic principles. People must be brought to see that God is real, and their need for such a God is equally real. A proper attitude must be formed — a God-ward attitude — before we can bring souls to Him, or expect faithfulness.

Mint, anise and cumin follow or come as a result of judgment, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23); and are of value only as they manifest the first. In our (commendable) zeal to urge the necessity of obedience we must not neglect to recognize that genuine obedience can come only from a heart properly turned toward God. It is as much our job, as teachers, to turn hearts toward God, as it is to teach that which must be done from the heart (Acts 8:37 Rom. 6:17).

An emotional turn toward God may be purely subjective, or even a hypocritical effort to avoid obedience; but we cant know this until fruit is produced. Try building on the heart, instead of trying to turn it off. It may be this fellow has the first important ingredient for godliness.