Monday, February 23, 2009

2 Peter 1:1-11 "Adding to Faith, Part 2"

Read 2 Peter 1-11.

"For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure...." NIV

For Part 1, read here.

"to perseverance, godliness:" So often people see godliness as something to strive for. If I do enough good things, I will be like God. If I read my Bible more, if I pray more, I will be godlier. While all these things are good and need to happen, godliness comes from being, not doing. It's being surrendered to Him. Being unselfish. Being a child of the King. Being open to whatever He has for my life. Being faith-filled. I can strive and strive and never make myself like God. But if I surrender to His Spirit within me and follow His lead -- knowing His character -- I can at least become a dull reflection of His beauty and love.

"to godliness, brotherly kindness:" Brotherly kindness is loving the believers around us. They are our family -- forever. It doesn't matter what denomination or what town they live in, we have a bond between us that must be nurtured. There is no room for envy or competition, bickering or hatred. We should all be working toward the same goal and doing it with kindness and love between us. When a brother hurts, we hurt with them. When they rejoice, we throw the party. When they are in need, we do all we can to meet their need. When they struggle, we afford them grace and help guide them back to the Truth. We can't run this race alone. We need each other to finish well.

"to brotherly kindness, love." The Lord has been impressing on me more and more to love others better. How do we love? Seeing others with the eyes of the Father. All people are His creation and He loves His children dearly. He desires that none should be lost but come to a saving knowledge of Him. If we can just look at others -- really look at them -- with grace-filled, loving eyes, we will see people who are hurting, confused, blinded who need to know Jesus. And since I may be the only "Jesus" they ever see, I need to love them fully. This takes a lot of selflessness. It's setting aside biases and judgements through which I may be tempted to filter my love. Loving with abandon in whatever way others need it to be. Whether they need help financially, help with children, moral support, friendship, or even just a kind word and smile, I need to be ready to give. My Lord is the author and embodiment of pure love and His Spirit can love through me if I am willing to be used. Lord, open my eyes to the need. I am willing. 

Further Thoughts:
  1. What of today's attributes do I need to work on more? Is God putting me in situations where I can exercise more godliness, brotherly kindness, or love? How will I do that?
  2. Find Old Testament people who did each of these really well. What distinguished them in this attribute?
  3. How did Jesus embody all of these attributes. Do a study and list an example for each of these seven virtues.
  4. How are all these virtues related to our faith? (see vs. 5)

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