As silly as it sounds, I had to ask myself such a question as I read in 2 Peter. After all, that's what I do when, having escaped the curse of my flesh, I choose to jump back into it because it feels good. The sinful deeds of my body will burn away with it when everything is said and done. But what I do in the Spirit will be effective and fruitful for eternity! I need this reminder as often as I'm tempted to act in ways that counter my new nature in Christ...
That's what the first passage of 2 Peter is all about!
- 1:1 - "Peter...TO THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A FAITH OF EQUAL STANDING WITH OURS..." Wow. Have you ever considered your faith to be of equal standing with that of the apostles of Christ? I don't often think along those lines! But of course it's of equal standing, when what our faith stands on is considered. We have the same faith, because it's obtained "by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ."
- 1:2 - "May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." Wow AGAIN. And this is only verse 2!! The more I know of God and of Jesus, the more I know grace and peace. I neeeeed that. Therefore, I need always to be learning and growing in such knowledge!
- 1:3 - "HIS DIVINE POWER has granted us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness..." Strong's definition for "life" is "the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God; life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever." So, in our life here on earth and our eternal life, everything we need to live godly lives has already been granted to us - and here is yet another reminder in Scripture that it is God's power working and not our own. He has "granted" it (presented, bestowed a gift). Our choice is to either turn our backs - return to the flames, if you will - or accept it and use it according to his will. This one verse could be expounded on so much. But for now, let's continue on to the next 8 verses of this passage...
- 1:4b - "through [the very great promises granted to us by God through the knowledge of Christ] YOU MAY BECOME partakers of the divine nature, HAVING ESCAPED from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire." See Ephesians 2:1-10. I need this reminder constantly that I have a new nature in Christ. The old has gone; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I was bought with a price; I am not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In 1 Peter 1:22-23 we read that our souls have been purified and that we have been born again of a seed that is imperishable! We have escaped from the corruption that is in the world. Yes, we still have sinful desires in our flesh, but we are not in bondage to obey those sinful desires. We can act like the new creations we are!
- 1:5-7 - "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love." BECAUSE we have been given this gift - our new nature and the power of God to live it out - it is our choice to open up and be filled with these qualities God wants us to have. The phrase "make every effort" has also been translated "applying all diligence; haste." This is something to be doing all the time, not just after suffering comes through times of idleness! If we don't fulfill this constant need of developing Christ-like behavior, we re-shackle ourselves to the danger of living in sin.
- 1:8, 9 - "For if these qualities [see vv. 5-7 above] are yours and ARE INCREASING, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever LACKS these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins." Oh LORD, my plea is that we wouldn't forget! May our lives be ever effective and fruitful for your Kingdom, because of our knowledge of You and Your power in our lives..
- 1:10 - "Therefore, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure ["sure," meaning stable, fast, and firm], for IF YOU PRACTICE THESE QUALITIES YOU WILL NEVER FALL" With promises like this from God, it's a wonder why I don't heed them. I'm a dummy for overlooking these truths so often!! We need to make the assurance of our calling evident in the way we live each moment of each day.
- 1:11 - "For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." This doesn't mean that by living in such a manner, we'll earn entrance into heaven. Rather, it simply means that the way we live will be recognized upon entering heaven. And if these qualities (mentioned in vv. 5-7), through God's power, have been practiced in our lives, we'll be greeted by our heavenly Father with blessing and honor - eternal treasures we can lay at his feet. What a beautiful picture!!
I scream. I mean, when I go from "calm mommy" to "mommy monster", it's never a gradual thing. It happens in an instant. My poor kids can never see it coming! And I hate it. Some may argue whether or not yelling is right or wrong, good or bad. But I know, for me, it's never good. When my anger, irritability, and frustration make their presence known, it causes anyone around to shrivel up in fear, and cry. No matter what the issue was in the first place (usually messes and spills when I'm already having a hard enough time straightening up the place), the bigger issue becomes ME, not treating my precious ones in a respectful and loving, godly manner. My screaming always leads to sadness. I DO NOT want my kids to think they can't talk to me, or that they have to walk on eggshells and do everything perfectly, or mommy will throw a fit. I want them to learn (of course!) that we don't have to throw fits! I just don't want to hurt their hearts anymore with the way I express my disappointment and fatigue.
There is a lot of meat in this first passage of 2 Peter. When it comes to application, the step I'm starting on is this: I don't want to scream anymore. I don't care how strong my hormones are, my God is stronger! And my desire to protect the fragile hearts of my girls is pretty strong too. I want to be an example that it's possible to honor God in the way we live. I want to show my children that they can come to me and be their imperfect little selves, and still be loved, because they ARE loved.
My list of efforts in 2 Peter 1:5-7 hasn't gotten far beyond "knowledge;" I've been cutting it short at "self-control." Lord, I invite your Holy Spirit to make Your presence known in this weakness of mine. Please use it to show off Your strength! Let your little ones know how precious they are to You through the way I treat and teach them. In Jesus' name, Amen.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self control."
-Galatians 5:16, 22