Sunday July 4th, 2010
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance, godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love.
-2 Peter 1:5-7
This is the divine nature spoken of in 1 Peter 4. Do you want divine nature? This is the way it comes. The reason mentioned earlier in verse 3 is that His divine power has given to us all things. We must complete this list with diligence, not forgetting or slacking off, but working hard.
We start with faith and that faith is trusting that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again, and not only that, but that you have answered His called and are now His. This is the faith that we need to build with. Once we have this faith, we can add virtue. Virtue is doing what’s right and having people see honor in what you do and say. This is you acting on your faith, knowing you are saved and forgiven and now you’re saving (by spreading the Gospel) and forgiving others who sin against you. Once you add virtue, then you add knowledge. You study the Scriptures to see what Jesus really said and you find out what it is that God wants you to do. But this knowledge doesn’t just stay in your head. Then you add self control and this is where you don’t give into your bodily lusts. The desires for power or money or security of popularity are not longer in control of your thoughts, actions, or decisions. You are in control. As God marked out the shore and said to the ocean, “You shall come no further,” you do the same thing to your temptations. You take a stand. At first it may seem easy, which is why you next add perseverance so you can withstand the test of time. Combining self control and perseverance is long-suffering which can also be translated patience. (See James 1:2-4) This means that you can withstand for long periods of time of not getting what you want, and still give praise to God. After perseverance, you add godliness. This really comes on it’s own. If you are long-suffering, then you are already acting like Jesus, who suffered long for us. The more you resist your temptations and serve and praise our God, the more godly you will be, because that’s how Jesus is. After godliness, you add brotherly kindness. Think of this as being kind to those closest to you, your blood family. I personally found my real blood family the most difficult to be nice to because I’m was with them all the time and I got annoyed with them or just selfish. They saw my bad qualities and didn’t like them so we clashed a bit. It’s easier to be with friends because if you don’t get along, you can always go home. But if you can treat your brother the way you know you should, and then turn around and treat everyone how you treat your brother, then you have brotherly kindness. However, you won’t be able to until you have already added godliness. After brotherly kindness, you can finally add love. This isn’t just feelings love, but the love that causes you to give your life for another. This is the love that Jesus had for us and that we can only have through Jesus. However, we will not be able to show this love until all the other steps are completed first. But the good news is that you don’t have to be conscience of these steps to perform them. This is divine nature given by divine power. Jesus will do it to you through the Holy Spirit. Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a complete work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
So where are you? Do you have this faith yet? If you have the faith, are you living it? Are you doing good works? James says that, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17. If you are doing good works, then do you have knowledge? Are you reading the Word of God? And if you have knowledge, are you putting it into practice by controlling your words and actions? It is my personal experience that new Christians are like baby rattle snakes. They are dangerous because they are full of passion, but little to no self control. I was one of them. I praise God that He let me grow. I you can control yourself, can you persevere? Is there a limit, a line that someone can cross to make you lose it? Was there a line that people crossed to upset Jesus beyond His self control? You might say yes to this because of the things Jesus said to the Pharisees or Him making a whip and clearing the temple, but remember that it is by jesus that all things are made. If He lost His self control, He would do more than say harsh words and drive the money changers from the temple. He could, with a single word, destroy anyone who bothers Him. He will come back in the end and destroy an enemy army with a single word. What He did and said to the religious leaders is tame for Him. Don’t forget that although Jesus was completely human, He could have at any time called upon His father and would have 12 legions of angels (We know from 2 Kings 19:35 that 1 angel can wipe out 185,000 soldiers by himself in one night) to do His bidding. Jesus was showing extreme perseverance and self control. And being like Him is being godly. Is that you? Are you kind to your brothers and to others as if they were your brother? We all have the same Father in heaven, so we might as well treat each other like brothers here on earth. Last of all, do you have that love inside you that loves completely. People say it’s impossible for us to love the way God loves, but I say that with God, all things are possible. (I’m not the first one to say that. Jesus said it too in Mark 10:27.) I think, that if we really love God, then God’s agape love will pour through us as if God is pouring into a pitcher (us) that is broken and holey (full of holes) so that we leak His love onto those around us. I believe it comes through this process and it is God who does it. We can either surrender and submit to Him or resist Him.
Imagine you’re in a river. You can either swim against the current or with the current. The river is God’s will and it will be done, but if you decide to swim upstream, then you will be fighting God the entire time, you’ll be wiped out and you won’t get to the end of it as fast. If you swim with the current, you will get their faster and enjoy yourself more. This is your choice. I choose to go with God.
Setting Sun - Sun Setting in SoCal...I forget where exactly.....
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