Read 2 Peter 1:1-11."His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." NIV
Peter, towards the end of his life, continues addressing the scattered congregation of believers. While Peter's first letter encouraged the believers to remain strong through persecution, his second letter focuses on dealing with false teachers and evildoers within the church. Both letters call believers to a deeper and truer walk with the Lord.
Whether we face outside opposition or internal invasion, the strength of the whole comes down to the devotion of the parts. Each believer is called to faith and action and when each one does so in increasing measure, the power of the body increases.
To grow as a believer Peter tells us how to "participate in the divine nature" in verse 5. "Make every effort to add to your faith..."
"goodness:" If we are turning from the evil that was prevalent in our life before Christ and that is still dominating the world today, we will go toward the opposite action to that of goodness. Goodness requires a self-sacrifice that evil does not encourage. It looks out for others before self and desires the greater good over self-satisfaction.
"to goodness, knowledge:" Here is the part about studying His Word. When we focus on His Words, we can learn more about Him, His nature, how He works. When we know more about who God is, we know more about His nature that lives within us and about what is expected of us. The other amazing part about being in His Word is the way His Spirit uses the Word to speak directly into our lives. The Logos becomes our Rema. What an amazing and supernatural form of communication. The trick is.... we have to answer the call.
"to knowledge, self-control:" The temptation to be pulled back into the ways of the world is tremendous. Most of the time, we won't even realize what is happening. It may begin small -- some selfish act or attitude that we allow to creep into our thinking. Then as we nurture that selfishness, it grows and grows eventually taking over our entire worldview and God-view. We filter all of life not through the eyes of the Father, but through how life will affect us. Everything we do runs through that self-absorbed filter and brings us back to an indulgent attitude on life. But we must keep our self-control -- not succumb to the temptations that attempt to pull us back to the life we used to live -- and remain on our guard at all times. You'd think resisting would get easier with time, but remember we are dealing with a cunning enemy. If we are onto him in one area, he'll just change his tactics and attack in another unexpected arena. He never stops trying, so our eyes must always be focused on the Truth to recognize the lies when they come our way.
"to self-control, perseverance:" No one ever said the Christian walk is easy. It is a constant battle to be in a minority and opposing everything around you at all times, and stay true to your calling. This is where the rubber meets the road. Are you going to "stand firm, steadfast" as Peter admonishes in 1 Peter 5:12 or will you waver and slip back into your old ways? Jesus never promised an easy life of luxury and comfort. In fact, He promised just the opposite. He said that we will have trials of every kind. But if we can keep our focus on the true prize; if we can keep our eyes on Jesus and His ways, we can make it through. Our time here -- in good times and in difficult ones -- is very short. We are just a scratch on the rope of eternity. But our lives in paradise are forever and forever. I can take a little trouble here to receive eternity with the Father.
Part 2 on Monday.
- Which one, if any, of these areas listed so far are the most difficult for you? Why? What do you need to change in your thinking, actions, or attitudes to be in line Scripturally with what God chooses for you to increase your faith?
- Find an Old Testament person that maintained each of these attributes well. What was different about them? How did they keep their focus?