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Faithlife

Add To Your Faith

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2 Peter 1:3-11 (NIV)

3 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. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 

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, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, 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 if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [1]

1.   Personal Relationship.  (verses 3,4)

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him”

Ever have someone try to solicit funds from you over the phone by reading some script to you.  This is one of those things that falls into the same category as fingernails on chalkboards . . . are we still using those things?  I can’t stand it.  Here I am tied to a short cord, I can’t do anything else but listen to a person who lacks imagination enough to get his/her own message across.  I want to scream, “Dish the script!  Make up your own words.  Explain to me what it is that you are looking for as though I were the only person that you had to call today rather than call #367.”  The scripts lack the personal touch.  They are cold and uninviting.  That may be why I find ritual deadening by times.  When you have a script it is just too easy to say the words and ignore the meaning.  We have scripts in our faith as well.  Christian jargon that we regurgitate like a gag reflex.  If we are to be effective in today’s society, we have to learn to dish the script as well.

The more scripted we appear, the less credible we are.  We are like the little kid in the schoolyard who repeats the conversation that he hears over the dinner table.  It sounds impressive but you know that he has little understanding of what he has just said and has arrived at it with no thought at all.

The scripture tells us that we have everything we need for both life and godliness. 

In other words we are equipped to live well.  Not merely to exist but to abound.  There are those who see the Christian life to parallel The Survivor Series.  The idea is to outlast the competition.  I believe that Christ intends for us to live well in whatever set of circumstances that we find ourselves.  He doesn’t intend for us to spend life, wishing it away but savoring each experience good or bad. 

10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. [2]  Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV)

We have an understanding of God that is personal to us and sufficient for our own relationship with God.  This makes us right with God.  However our relationship with God does not create a right relationship with men.  (Ill. – people accept Christ in prison and yet they remain in prison.  They are right with God but they still have to do the time in order to become right with men.  We have to “do our time” as well if we want people to accept the change that Christ make sin us) That is our own responsibility that is fulfilled as we live godly lives before them.  The consistency of our living is what convinces men that we have something to offer.

2.  Personal Responsibility. (verse 5a)

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith”

We are urged to “add” to our faith or to “develop” in our own lives.  Spiritual growth becomes the process of living in the “natural” world in a “supernatural” manner.

How do we measure spiritual growth?  Perhaps somewhat as we measure physical growth.  It could be a slow process to decide to sit and watch another person grow but the growth becomes evident over a period of time, sometimes accentuated by gaps in our ability to observe another person.  The grandparents sometimes see the kids "growth” more readily than the parents.

We can see spiritual growth when:

Ø      Children are able to do things that they once could not do.  So it is true in the spiritual life.  Could you have seen yourself 5 years ago doing some of the things that you are doing today.  If I told you 5 years ago that you would be standing behind a pulpit, preaching to a group of college students one day, what would your reaction have been?

Ø      Things that once “fit” them no longer do – they grow out of things.  Here is a good story that illustrates the fact that we grow away from things that we could never imagine.  It is the positive picture of spiritual growth.

The true Christian never has to give up anything (of course I am not speaking of sins), but there are a lot of things that will give him up.  They will go one by one.  There will be no grief. It will be the way childish occupations are abandoned.  I never had to give up playing with tops and marbles.  I never had to come to the place where I said, "Oh I am a big boy now, and big boys shouldn't play marbles. So I will make a great effort to give up playing marbles."  It did not happen that way.  One day I was playing marbles with a group of small boys and some older boys came by.  They looked at me and said, "Hey, kid, can you field a ball?"  "Sure I can,"  I replied with more vigor than accuracy.  "Well," they said, "we are short a fielder.  Get out there and see what you can do."  I went out and was ready to play my head off to keep up with the older fellows.  When it was my turn to bat I was ready to swing till I burst, and to run till I dropped, and do all that I could to keep up with the bigger company I was in.  And when the game was over and we older boys, as I then classed myself, walked down the street past the little fellows who were playing marbles, I did not go back to marbles. I had graduated.  I did not give up marbles, marbles gave me up.

n      The Epistle to the Romans, Donald Grey Barnhouse

Ø      You can leave them alone unattended.  They don’t need babysitters anymore.  Children have babysitters in order to protect them from themselves.  God knew that when He created Eve.  He said, “It is not good for man to be alone . . .”  They gain an ability to keep themselves safe by making good judgments relative to their environment.  They learn to feed themselves and to dress properly.  On and on the list goes . . . .

3.  Personal Characteristics. (verse 5b-7)

Peter outlines the things that we need to work on to add to our relationship to God in order to be effective with men.

Goodness

Knowledge

Self-control

Perseverance

Godliness

Brotherly Kindness

Love

We learn from our own personal experience of God and we pass this along in our living to the world that is watching.  We become translators for God, helping people to understand and receive what we have gained.

4.  Personal Development. (verse 8,9)

Ø      Our faith needs to become our own.  We all need to come to the place where we own our faith.  It is no longer inherited or imposed upon us.  We are the possessors, proprietors, owners.  The scripture says:

“8 For if you possess these qualities. . .”

Ø      We need to develop strategies to increase our personal capacities.  Some of this may take the form of spiritual disciplines such as prayer.  Perhaps the cultivation of habits such as reading to gain broader understanding.  There are those who advocate a weekly practice of personal evangelism and they schedule it religiously because they realize that without the structure they would not be faithful to this priority.  So too we can build strategies and structures that help us to give regular attention to the things that are dearest to us -–our core values.  The scripture tells us that these qualities should be possessed in increasing measure.

“possess these qualities in increasing measure”

Ø      Success is the unavoidable end.  It is God’s guarantee and it is the result of faithfully carrying out His game plan.  My Dad used to tell me that earning a black belt was the unavoidable end of coming to class.  If a person simply kept coming they could not avoid the attainment of a black belt.  If we do things as God would have us to do then we win ultimately.  There is no option.

they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The qualities that we have been given will bring us the desired results.  It doesn’t matter who you are.  This is God’s unqualified guarantee.  Read it for yourself.  There’s no “if’s”, “and’s” or “but’s”. 

This is not necessarily success by a worldly standard but success according to God’s standard of “fruitfulness” for the Christian.  It’s what separates the entrepreneurial saint from the cautious soul who buries the talent that God gives him and returns it without increase.

5.  Personal Encouragement (verse 10,11)

10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And finally he gives this admonition to pursue the desired outcome.  Look at the statements:

“For if you do these things, you will never fall . . .”

and

11 and you will receive a rich welcome . . .”

I don’t believe that God promises are unsure.  If he makes a promise He keeps it.  Count on it.

God answers prayer; sometimes, when hearts are weak,

 He gives the very gifts believers seek.

 But often faith must learn a deeper rest,

 And trust God's silence, when He does not speak;

 For he whose name is Love will send the best.

 Stars may burn out nor mountain walls endure,

 But God is true; His promises are sure

 To those who speak.

-- M. G. Plantz


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[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Zondervan: Grand Rapids

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