Mutual Affection and Love

7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:7

These two qualities go hand in hand. It’s impossible to have one without the other. Of course, love is the overarching theme of the entire Bible, so it’s certainly not by accident that it’s the character quality we need in our lives.

Getting to the quality love, though, may cause you to run the gamut of all the disciplines in Peter’s list. If love were easy, everyone would do it. If everyone were lovable, everyone would be loved. But we all know that not everyone is lovable and love isn’t easy, despite the cliches, songs, and clever saying people assign to the word love.

No, unconditional love is difficult. How God unconditionally loves us is truly remarkable. While we may pat ourselves on the back as not being so bad, we take odd comfort in there being some really bad characters in this world. There but for the grace of God go I. We’re all bad and deserve eternal damnation, that is, apart from Christ. It’s as simple as that.

Now, what will we do with that truth?

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Perseverance to Godliness

and to perseverance, godliness; 2 Peter 1:5e

It’s interesting that Peter put godliness before mutual affection and love. As we persevere in our faith and trails, it humbles us. We realize that we are buy tiny specs in the universe. Without a healthy sense of reality about who we are, we can become prideful and conceited, because, after all, look how we’ve so suffered for Christ! It’s how we would naturally think but we all know where that kind of thinking leads.

Instead, when we submit our wills to God, He elevates us as He sees fit, if He sees fit. He knows our weaknesses and frailties. He knows what’s best for our lives even better than we know ourselves. And He knows what we need to remain humble.

That’s how perseverance leads to godliness.

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The Long Run

and to self-control, perseverance; 2 Peter 1:5d

It’s natural that sustained self-control would lead to perseverance. Anybody who’s battled and conquered an addiction knows this. Especially in the beginning, those first few days of going “cold turkey” is extremely painful. After those first few days and weeks of victory after victory, you are beginning to persevere.

The Christian life has been compared to a marathon. There are ups and downs, pain, hunger, thirst, and weariness. But in the end, marathoners who complete the race are rewarded for running 26 miles. Most of the time, the reward is internal, as in a sense of accomplishment. As the end of our lives here on earth is a reward awaiting us, something that is much more valuable than a sense of accomplishment. The pain and hunger and weariness we experience here is worth it all. Picture in your minds those in heaven rooting and cheering us on, telling us that we only have a little bit left before going home.

Only a little bit more now. Keep at it. It’s worth it. It will be worth it all. Just you wait and see.

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Bad Habits

6 and to knowledge, self-control; 2 Peter 1:5c

Self-control (or lack thereof) makes or breaks people. Addictions continue on year after year because a person cannot say no. It can be food, alcohol, drugs, painkillers, television, pornography, tobacco, or 2000 other bad habits. Self-controls begins with the little things. If you never drink alcohol, you will never become addicted. And so it goes with any addiction. Often the addiction is formed to fill a void in the person’s life.

Breaking the addiction is merely a matter of stopping. Obviously, that’s much easier to write than to actually execute. That is the solution in a nutshell, but getting there and not reverting back to old ways is where the difficulty lies. If you haven’t understood the reason for the addiction in the first place (what void were you filling with the addiction), then it’s very easy to slip back.

Often, though, it takes an accountability partner or two to ask the tough questions. That’s the reason for organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Are you battling an addiction? Have you given it over to God a hundred times but revert back a few days later? Consider that Christian accountability partner. Being vulnerable about your weaknesses is never a bad thing. Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results can and will be disastrous. Whatever it is you’re battling, know that you’re not alone and others will stand beside you if you let them.

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Goodness Leading to Discernment

and to goodness, knowledge; 2 Peter 1:5b

Faith is foundational. Next comes goodness, and now knowledge. The knowledge that Peter was talking about here is closer to to the word discernment or discretion. As we grow in our faith and virtue, we are able to discern the right and wrong things to do in most situations. It doesn’t mean that we’ll actually do the right things; it just means we become more aware of them. The Holy Spirit has to help us with that.

The takeaway from this is that as we grow in Christ, we are growing in maturity (or should be). The more we are in tune with what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives, the more we can place our faith in Him. The Christian life is treacherous and full of obstacles. We don’t always know what to do. While we can’t rely on the Spirit of God to give out outright answers, we can rely on Him to nudge us one way or another.

In regards to sin, what He tells us is a no-brainer: run, flee, don’t do it!

But for the non-essentials in life, it’s not always clear cut. That’s why we must lean in closer.

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Add to Your Faith, Goodness

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; 2 Peter 1:5a

The foundation for Peter’s next few words is faith. It is the building block for what follows. As such, it should also be the cornerstone in our lives. Without faith, we cannot please God.

With that faith comes goodness. Waht does it mean? It means doing good things, saying good things, begin a “good” person. Without getting too bogged down with definitions, it’s this: we know bad and rotten people when we see them. Goodness is opposite of it. Our goodness – not matter how good we are – does not get us into heaven. No, that’s faith. Our goodness, though, is our way of expressing our love for God. Because He has blessed us, we can bless others.

Think of ways you can have goodness radiate from your life. Many of you do that already, and God is pleased with that. He is more pleased, however, that you have faith in Him.

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Promises Promises

4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:4

What was Peter referring to when He said God gave us promises?

He promised He’d send the Holy Spirit. John 15:14-31
He promised us eternal salvation. Revelation 3:5
He promised He would never leave nor forsake us. Matthew 28:20
He promised us a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21
He promised that these bodies of ours will be transformed. 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

What more could we want or need?

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We Have the Tools

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

If applied, this single verse could change your world forever. I am not exaggerating or engaging in hyperbole. We can live a Godly life in Christ. We have the “tools” and wherewithal to live Godly lives. That is truly an amazing thought. We have no excuse now.

Commit this verse to memory today. Memorize it. Repeat it often. Use it as a prayer to God over your life. Get it into your spirit.

Then – then watch the Holy Spirit work in your life.

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Abundant Grace and Peace

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

Peter understood the importance of praying inside his letters. He was instructing them and praying for them. It’s a powerful prayer too. As we grow in the knowledge of Christ, our peace and grace should also be growing. Is yours? Are you calmer now in a stressful situation than you were last year? Are you more forgiving of small slights now than you were two years ago?

As we learn more about Christ, we begin to model what He did when He lived here. Here was a man who was at total peace right before He went to the cross, mainly because he prayed and knew it was God’s will. He gave grace to those who needed it the most, and was down on the hypocritical rulers.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

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