First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV
Yesterday, I was reviewing world events when I thought of these verses. It’s certainly a time to pray for our leaders. In our age of instant communication, we tend to stare at screens, read reports of their shortcomings, and complain about them. God asks that we pray for them.
What bothered me the rest of the day was Paul’s description of the goal of these prayers: “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” The appeal for peace and quiet certainly rings true. Tranquility of spirit and demeanor is the default setting for one who trusts an all-powerful God. The next 2 words, however, made me swallow hard.
- Godly. The Greek word is eusébeia. It means to live a life of reverence toward God. The old-fashioned term is “piety.” It implies a personal reverence and devotion. It refers to a heart attitude that puts worship and reverence at the center of one’s life.
- Dignified. This one has to do with our behavior as seen by others. The Greek word is semnótēs. Aristotle used it to describe a virtue that “reflects the ability not only to perform well one’s duties as a citizen, but also to adhere to the highest principles and ideals of earth and heaven, and thus drawing respect and approval.” Vincent’s Word Studies says it means, “reverend or venerable; exhibiting a dignity which arises from moral elevation, and thus invites reverence.”
When was the last time you heard anyone talk about piety, reverence, honor, and dignity as goals for life? Maybe it’s time for a checkup.
As we get ready for church today, let’s certainly pray for our leaders. They need it. Let’s also check our own hearts. Why are we doing what we do, praying, going to church; what’s our goal? Let’s pray for one another that we will be able to lead a life of reverence toward God, comporting ourselves in such a way as to reflect dignity and moral elevation, inspiring reverence in those who know us. Let’s do this.