The Mystery of Godliness

Is there one who has not at some time in his life desired to know God? This desire may be born at any time along the way in one's life experience. Often it comes when material things upon which he leaned have been swept away by the tide of ever changing events. The birth of this hope may be attended by pangs of sorrow, peril, and pain. It is often accompanied by retrospection and repentance for the past and an ardent longing to live nearer to God in the future,—a radical turning from evil to good. The shock of finding earthly things untrustworthy helps to dispel from the human mind a superstitious mystery about God. Man's desire to become like his God is as ancient as the acknowledgment that there is a Supreme Being. One's god is that object upon which he thinks most. One may call himself an infidel and declare that he has no God, and at the same time be an idolatrous worshiper of persons and things.

The concept of a God of peace molded the Quakers into a quiet, peaceful people, while the concept of a God of war made the Teutons a warlike race. Jesus' idea of God was one of perfection. He also taught that to be like God was to be perfect. There is nothing strange, superstitious, or unnatural in striving for perfection. It is simply the effort to think and do right.

God is not to be merely believed in; we must acquaint ourselves with and understand God. One is to be as Abraham was, "the Friend of God;" then comes peace. It is impossible to know God, to be acquainted with Him through His ideas, and not love Him; for, as John tells us, "God is love." A personal concept of Deity limits, warps, and mystifies. There is no mystery to the child about his mother's love. He knows it is always present, ready for him if he calls upon it. There should be no mysticism to the adult about God's love; for it is ever enfolding him like the atmosphere, and blessing him like the sunshine and the rain. There would be no doubt of this if false education had not inoculated the human mind with the belief of another power besides Love. The acknowledgment of good as the one reality corrects this false teaching, and man begins to manifest in his daily life godliness, the fruit of the Spirit.

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Remembering Our Work
June 21, 1919

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