Praying through the Psalms

Praying through the Psalms

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Effort Counts!

Readings for the Day
Isaiah 50-52, Psalm 92, 2 Peter 2

Verses for the Day
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sIns

Thoughts for the Day
Peter writes his second letter to the scattered believers in Northern Galatia. He is nearing the end of his life and wants to make sure the church stands firm in its knowledge of Jesus. False teachers are going to try an infiltrate the church and create division and conflict.

Importantly in the verses above, Peter describes characteristics or virtues that Christians are to demonstrate in an increasing manner. Notice this is not adding works to grace, but is the fruits of faith as it grows. Before these verses, Peter reminds them in the first verses that God has given them everything they need for their divine calling. God calls us to holiness in increasing measure, but it is a result of his promises and our trusting in them. He states that through these precious promises we become participants in the divine nature. Does this we become a God? No it means we can become more like God, or specifically his Son, Jesus Christ. We begin to resemble our Heavenly Father as he prepares us to be with him forever.

So the qualities listed above are markers for a deeper relationship with Christ fueled by the Holy Spirit. Notice the end result is love. Though knowledge is important and goodness is important, it means nothing if it doesn't result of our being more loving. Again it is our knowledge of Jesus. Not head knowledge, but heart knowledge that leads to transformation of our lives. And the qualities listed in this passage give us a glimpse of what our lives look like, as Jesus gets more our hearts and lives.

As you look at these qualities do you see them in your life? Remember it is God who does the work in us, but Peter says, "make every effort to ..." Remember grace is opposed to earning not effort. This is one of the great reasons Christians don't grow in their faith, which leads to a transformed life. We don't make an effort to add to our faith these qualities. Growing in faith is not passive but active, fueled by a desire to please God and follow our Lord and Savior.

This will help the believers in to recognize false teachers. The false teachers would claim to have knowledge but would not show it by the way they lived. On the contrary as the believers grew in character they would be more assured of their faith as well.

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