The following are excerpts from a talk on Piety given by Jim Edgel – They have been reprinted with his permission:
Piety is a word we rarely use and may think of it in a negative way such as the “pious” ways of the Pharisees. But authentic Christian piety is a very good thing. In fact, if we explain the life Jesus led, it was a life of true piety. Brothers, as we become filled with the Holy Spirit, God calls each one of us to a new life, and this involves a radical change from within. This change alters our relationship with: Our self, with God, with other people, and with the world, we live in together. We see ourselves differently, knowing that no matter how broken we may be, we are forgiven and very valuable to God. We have a new direction for our lives as children of God, full of marvelous capabilities. We begin to see other people through God’s eyes, loving them as brothers and sisters who were created with the same potential that God has given to us. And as we continue to transform; we see our world, as messed up as it may be, as God’s gift to us, given for our enjoyment and care. When we speak of piety, we are speaking of a full response in all areas of our life to God’s amazing love and grace. We must seek a personal relationship with God, not just knowing about God … But knowing who God is. Being Christian, not just doing Christian things. How can we discover our God-given potential and be the complete person that God calls us to be as we live a life of grace? This consists of balancing three key dimensions of our lives. All three are equally important and it takes all three, working together, giving equal stability and balance in order to support us as we live in a close relationship with God. To better understand the importance of Piety in our daily walks as Christians; which includes taking the Good News of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for you and me to the world, we must understand the difference between authentic piety and false piety. Authentic piety is an intimate, revitalizing deepening relationship with God. Jesus explains this to us. You may remember reading in the Gospel of Matthew when the Pharisees gathered to question Jesus and one of the group asked Him which was the greatest commandment in the law. And Jesus using His words with great precision, as always, not only answers their question, He explains authentic piety and sums up all the commandments in three sentences. 22nd chapter of Matthew verses 37, 38, 39 – And Jesus said to him “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”False piety is a superficial, inaccurate or deceptive practice that appears to be Christian. False piety is destructive. It distracts and diverts people from seeking and knowing God. It prevents them from finding and living the fulfilled life God has planned for them. Friends … any of us can respond to God’s call in either of two ways. We can follow a path of faith and commitment as Paul described in his letter to the Colossians “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Or we can devote ourselves to religious, regulations and practices that mark us as “A good Christian” who does “Christian” things. Those who take this path do not understand the role of God’s grace in the lives of those who are in a relationship with Him.
More to follow