We’ve been blogging about piety this month and my thought is this: What does it look like in real terms? I usually get this vision of a person standing or kneeling with their hands together as in prayer with this light shining off them or a halo over their heads. Hmmm, maybe not. OK, how about someone who is always doing something “Godly” like going to church, doing good deeds for others…. No… How about a monk or a nun who never leave the convent or cloister?
Since we live in a world where we can’t all just run to the nearest convent or cloister, we have to look at this from a real-world view. We can’t withdraw from the world and spend all our time praying to the Lord and studying the Word. We need to support ourselves and our families. So, what do we do? What does piety really look like and how do we go about starting to live this way?
Let me preface this with the statement that this is my personal view on piety. I’m still working this out in my own life, believe me, it’s a process and I know that I’ll never see an end to it. Why? Because there is no end until Jesus returns.
Piety is personal and is between a person and God. A person may think that if they do an hour of devotionals in the morning and an hour of Bible study every evening, go to church 2,3, or however times during the week, that they are “pious”. Not that doing all that is bad, that’s not what I’m saying. But why are you doing it? Are you doing all that to impress God? You want a gold star at the end of the world and a pat on the head? That’s not going to happen. Doing “works” is good only if it comes from the right place in your heart. Doing something to impress God or others doesn’t cut it. Jesus said it like this:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6
I think that passage says more about personal piety than anything I’ve seen. Pray in secret. Just between you and God. Stay humble. Go to church, study the Bible, pray, do devotionals everyday or when you can. Work it out in your life. But keep it between you and God. Cause when you start looking for pats on the head is when you are doing all this for the wrong reason.