We all know as Christians we’re supposed to be godly in our actions, our words, and our attitudes, but what does that really mean? In 1873, John Johnson wrote a book called The Six-Weight Test of Godliness. It’s a small pamphlet, almost a tract. Recently I was looking at that book and found it intriguing that so many years ago these six tests were identified, and they seem so applicable today. Here are the tests:
1. Are you sensitive to sin?
Have we become so dead to sin and so dead to what is right and what is wrong that we have really not taken sin seriously? I John 1:7-10 says that if we ignore the sin in our lives, we really don’t know God.
2. Do you know and obey God’s Word?
Christians desire to understand the deep truths of Scripture and apply them to our lives.
3. Do you reject the world’s system?
The world runs on a system of materialism and consumerism, a system that results in the exploitation of people. Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4 that we are to think more highly of others than ourselves. The world’s system is all about putting yourself first, but John Johnson in 1873 said the test of a godly person is that we reject that system.
4. Do you love other Christians?
One of the things that grieves me as I travel around the country and talk to Christians is how much bitterness and resentment and unforgiveness is residing in their lives. I don’t know how we can read the New Testament, which talks so much about being reconciled to our brothers and being right with our friends and others around us, and sill carry a grudge.
5. Do you experience the Holy Spirit?
One of the haunting sections of Scripture is where it says in John 10 that God’s sheep will know His voice. I have to ask myself, When is the last time that I heard His voice, and when was the last time I was compelled to do something simply because the Holy Spirit that lives in me caused me to act a certain way – to talk to a person, to love a person, to ask forgiveness?
Recently my wife, Robanne, was recalling an attitude that she displayed thirty years ago in one of her first jobs. It involved the leadership of that job, and she said, “I think I need to write a letter and ask forgiveness for that action.” That’s the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
6. Is your heart soft?
Does your heart hurt and bend with the things that God calls us to look at and take care of? Is your heart soft to those around you and the needs of the world around you?
That was John Johnson’s six-weight test of godliness. How do you measure up?